The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride. Ecclesiastes 7:8
Springtime brings all sorts of new beginnings; trees bud, flowers bloom, and, at least here in Geneva, sheep give birth to their adorable, fuzzy little lambs. The sun comes out, the weather warms up and we all feel a little spring in our step after making it through the cold winter months. Easter is celebrated in the Spring; the celebration of new life in Jesus. Beginnings. New. It’s easy to get so focused on all of the new and exciting beginnings in spring that we forget about or push aside the things that are winding down and ending.
Spring ushers in the end of the school year, the end of Bible studies or other enrichment classes, the end of kids’ sports and activities, the end of the school-year routine… the list goes on. If you have children, May and June feel more like the end of the year than December ever will.
Most of these endings don’t seem all that exciting. Starting something, now that is exhilarating. But finishing? Look at the focus verse: The end of a matter is better than its beginning…Wow, talk about counter-cultural! We are society who loves to start. We love beginnings, we love new, we love novelty. But God says the end is better than the beginning. Why?
I started several exercise programs in my college years and early married life. I would make a commitment, get started full-force, be really excited, and then before a month or two had passed, I would wane down until the commitment had totally dissolved. I did this more times than I care to admit. After my fourth baby was born, possibly just to get 20 minutes to myself a few times a week, I started running. I had never run a single step in my entire life! But I made a commitment and I was determined to stick to it. The program that I followed highly encouraged participants to sign up for a 5k race in order to stay motivated. So I did… I signed up, and then I told people I had signed up. As the race approached, there were about 3 million times that I wanted to give up, and excuses galore, but I didn’t give in to that temptation. I ran the race…and finished. I think I was on “cloud nine” for a month!
It comes down to this…it doesn’t take strong character or commitment to start something well, but it does to finish well. In order to finish something well, we have to display the traits of patience, perseverance, endurance, diligence, faithfulness, and self-control. As we rely on the Spirit to give us strength to follow through with our commitments, our character becomes more like that of Jesus, and in the end, that’s our goal as Christians, isn’t it?
So as your Bible study or whatever you have comes to a close, don’t fall into the temptation of not going or skipping out on your homework. Don’t switch your focus to summertime or next fall’s schedule, because you will miss the incredible blessings that come with finishing well.
“…my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me…” Acts 20:24