Last week marked the death anniversaries of the two youth group members who have died since I’ve been at New Covenant. Ryan W. died 10 years ago and Michelle Pinkston died 1 year ago. I’ve been reflecting on what was similar and different about their lives and deaths.


Both grew up in our church.
Both from strong Christian families.
Both were active in youth group, doing drama, music, the Mexico trip.
Both were really fun, life-of-the-party types. Popular and well-liked.
Both died suddenly as a total shock to everyone.
Both deaths made me cry for very different reasons.


Despite his good start, Ryan strayed from the Lord his junior year, quit coming to church, made a series of poor choices which ultimately resulted in his death.

Michelle kept the faith, focused on loving others, used her talents to glorify God, served God in many ways, completed college with numerous awards and achievements, and was killed in a car accident on her way home.

Ryan started well and finished poorly.
Ryan’s funeral was a somber occasion, filled with regret, guilt, and tears of despair.

Michelle started well and finished well.
Michelle’s funeral was a worshipful occasion, filled with praise to God for a life well lived. There were tears from the grief of separation, but they were also tears of joy knowing she heard the words “Well done, good and faithful servant. Welcome home!”
Today, the mention of Michelle’s name brings to mind “finishing well.”


How you finish matters.  It is a lot of what will be remembered about you. We don’t know when our life will be over, it could happen suddenly, without warning like it did for these two.

Choose to finish well by always living well. Michelle did that by making good choices. Please be like her.