Remember the old Maxwell House coffee commercial and its motto, “Good to the last drop”? Even if you don’t – I think it’s been years since they used that ad slogan – if you look at the labels of Maxwell House coffees, you’ll still see the image of a tilted coffee cup releasing its last drop.
I mention this not to promote a particular caffeine producer – don’t mean to slight the Folgers, Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, or McDonald’s folks – but the last drop concept seems a fitting metaphor for a life that’s been well-lived.
Without intending to seem morbid, I remember several people over my lifetime who literally dropped dead while engaged in some type of activity. One was cutting grass, another had laid down for a quick nap, and yet another was in the middle of his daily jog.
There have been others, but a common denominator of the three individuals I cite is they were still actively involved in serving their Lord when their days on earth abruptly came to an end.
Nearing the close of another decade myself, this raises a question I hope to answer in the affirmative: “Will I finish well?” I used to think such a consideration was reserved only for men and women well into their senior years. But I’ve come to realize the secret to a life that’s “good to the last drop” is striving to make the best of every day we have, whether we’re 18, 28, 48 or 88.
Sadly, I’ve also known people who failed to finish well. Whose “last drop” wasn’t all that good. They got off to a good start – like the field at the start of a NASCAR race, all bright and shiny, no dents. Full of energy. Then somewhere along the line they spun out, had a flat tire and banged against the wall, or drove to the pits and never came back out.
Ah, but I mix my metaphors. Did you ever find yourself enjoying a nice cup of coffee…until the end, when the last sip filled your mouth with a bunch of grounds? Yuck! One of our regular coffee places – it shall remain nameless – has a nasty habit of including little coffee crunchies in its hazelnut blend. Some things I like crunchy, but not my coffee. So, I have great appreciation for brews that are good to the last drop – as well as lives.
Why is it that some start their lives – and their walk of faith – strong, continue with consistency and finish well, while others don’t? The problem, it seems, isn’t so much with the ending as it is with the beginning. J.D. Greear recently made this observation: “Faith that fizzles before the finish was flawed from the first.” His alliteration is clever, but the meaning is profound.
Perhaps that is why the apostle Paul encouraged believers in the church at Colossae, “having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude” (Colossians 2:7). Just as a plant must be firmly rooted to grow properly, faith also must be deeply rooted into Jesus Christ as the foundation.
Writing to his protégé, Timothy, Paul also exhorted, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). Rather than being guided by feelings, whims, or even the opinions of others, Paul taught Timothy to anchor himself in the timeless, changeless truths of the Scriptures.
Heeding his own advice, the apostle could say near the end of his life, “…Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14). This kind of resolve can’t be established by someone “prepping for the finals.” It’s a lifelong pursuit. If not already underway, it must start now.
How are you progressing in the quest to ensure your life is “good to the last drop”?
Robert J. Tamasy is a veteran journalist, former newspaper editor and magazine editor. Bob has written hundreds of magazine articles, and authored, co-authored and edited more than 15 books. These include the newly re-published, “Business At Its Best,” “Tufting Legacies,” “The Heart of Mentoring,” and “Pursuing Life With a Shepherd’s Heart.” He edits a weekly business meditation, “Monday Manna,” which is translated into more than 20 languages and distributed via email around the world by CBMC International. To read more of Bob Tamasy’s writings, you can visit his blog, www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com, or his website (now being completed), www.bobtamasy-readywriterink.com. He can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.