Michelangelo: the name brings to our mind great artistry, architecture, and sculpture. To say his name is to be reminded of the Sistine Chapel ceiling in the Vatican at Rome. Yet time and again he left that work, tiring of it, to return to his beloved and native Florence—only to be coaxed back by the Pope, insisting that he finish that work. When we think of his name, we think of those statues of Moses or David. What we may not remember, however, is that he left far more works unfinished than finished. In the sacristy of a church in Florence, the unfinished masterpieces of Michelangelo were gathered together, and by count, he left more works unfinished than complete.
In my study at home, I keep a picture of the desk of the late and great Dr. A. T. Robertson, perhaps the most famous and influential scholar the Southern Baptist people ever produced. It was a photograph taken of his desk the day he died. Our senior pastor and others in his class were there on that occasion, on September 23, 1934, when he walked into his senior class in the Greek New Testament at 3:00 in the afternoon. Thirty minutes into the class he was stricken, and two hours later he was taken. When they looked at the rudiments that were left on his desk, they found he had begun the masterwork of his life: a translation of the New Testament bearing his own name. He had translated as far as the feeding of the 5,000 in Matthew's Gospel, and then he was taken, leaving across his desk unfinished notes, manuscripts, and papers.
The world-famous Cecil Rhodes, whose name was known across the continent, said as his last words, "So much to do, so little done."
We've read the mighty, triumphant shout of Jesus from the cross: "It is finished."
What do ...
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Dr. Joel C. Gregory is Director of the Kyle Lake Center for Effective Preaching, holder of the George W. Truett Endowed Chair of Preaching and Evangelism at Baylor's Truett Seminary, and the founder of Joel Gregory Ministries.