Why would Paul stress this to his protégé?
If you read ahead in 2 Timothy 4:6 – 18, you will note that people left the ministry and deserted Paul in his time of need. The implications are that though Paul finishes well, 2 Timothy 4:7, there are many who do not. One of my friends points out that we find many in their 20’s and 30’s on fire for the Lord, but, he observes, there are few in their 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s that do more than slide for home.
Paul wants Timothy to complete (the root of the word here translated fulfill) fully the assignment that the Lord has given him.
This last imperative is particularly important for all of us. 2 Peter 5:8 reminds us that we have a faithful, intentional, murderous enemy. Success, completion, fulfillment in and of our Christian life and ministry to others is under constant attack. This stark reminder by the apostle coupled with the similar warning by Peter in 2 Peter 3:17, should serve to keep us diligent to continually rely and depend on the Lord to finish this race.