2 Corinthians 8:10-11 (NLT)
Here is my advice: It would be good for you to finish what you started a year ago. Last year you were the first who wanted to give, and you were the first to begin doing it. Now you should finish what you started. Let the eagerness you showed in the beginning be matched now by your giving. Give in proportion to what you have.
Life is full of starts and finishes. We begin things all the time that never are completed. I am guilty as charged. There are many projects throughout my house that I began with good intentions but have not got around to putting on the finishing touches. A few months ago, I painted our youngest daughter’s room. I purchased gray paint at a discount hoping it would work for her modern tastes but it was too dark so I proceeded to mix it with white until we were certain that it was the perfect shade. Well, not so much. It is still too dark but my stubbornness to use the treasured bargain would not allow me to just go have the paint store mix the shade she liked and bite the bullet to buy it. So I have not finished painting over the medium gray with the lighter one she desires. In an attempt to make it more feminine, I grabbed some cool glitter paint that we applied to an accent wall. Now not only must I repaint the room, but find the time to scrape off the glitter affixed to one wall. I have to finish the task. I want to finish it. I love to paint and change up their rooms. But I am kicking myself because I really have put myself in a predicament because of my stubborn, bargain-hunting nature. So for now, the pictures are off the wall. The desk has no chair. There are many details left undone until summer comes in a couple weeks and I can paint again.
What’s the big deal about my undone project? Well, there really isn’t one other than the fact it is one more thing that I need to buckle down and finish in a long list of needs, wants and desires. God put purpose in the heart of mankind. Eternity is our purpose and is attained in our daily life as we finish those things that are our destiny. Painting is not my purpose in life but making our children happy is one of them. The Word of God says, “It would be good for you to finish what you started a year ago.” Paul was talking about giving, but this could relate to just about anything in our life. Our relationship to Jesus Christ is based on love. He first loved us. We love Him now. Love is a commitment. When we love someone, we are to honor that commitment with our life. It is represented in everything we do. God is a completer. Jesus is a finisher. It is our purpose to be one, too.
“Let the eagerness you showed in the beginning be matched now.” I am in the process of finishing something that I began more than seven years ago. It has been a long hard process of self-discovery that the Lord has used to mold and shape me as a person. My season in my current position is ending. I know it is God’s Will. It would be easy to just check out and walk away. Eagerness and excitement are in the beginning, but not the long haul. We are anxious to start that new thing finding exhilaration at first that soon becomes monotony. Over the years, the Lord teaches the value of commitment and matures us but when we see the finish line everything changes. Most of the time, people will cut bait and run but I believe that it is more important how we finish than if we ever started in the first place. The Bible says that the one who endures to the end will be saved. Jesus said that so does it mean that we are born to finish our tasks and complete all missions. Friend, I believe that’s exactly what it means.
John 4:34-35 (NLT)
Then Jesus explained: “My nourishment comes from doing the will of God, who sent me, and from finishing his work. You know the saying, ‘Four months between planting and harvest.’ But I say, wake up and look around. The fields are already ripe for harvest.”
Okay, maybe I am reading too deeply here or seeing something that is not there but I don’t think so. Jesus said that His Nourishment came from doing the Will of God AND finishing His Work. Got it. I believe that is true. Prosperity on all levels is an inside process that forces its way outside manifesting in our life. Without divine purpose, there is no blessing. Jeremiah 29:11 says that God has plan for our life that is good with a future and hope. All I must do to have it is seek the Lord wholeheartedly. (Jeremiah 29:13) I am not a preacher or missionary so how do I do the Will of God. I do it by seeking the Lord wholeheartedly in EVERYTHING that I do. I honor the Lord by finishing everything that I start because I love Him, trust Him and I am committed to fulfilling His Purpose in my life. Faith and confident hope are evidenced in my willingness and ability to see things through not necessarily knowing the outcome but by trusting the Lord for the harvest.
God will finish every single “work” that He has begun in you. (Philippians 1:6) Every good work that you begin has the potential to be finished by you because it is God’s Will for our life to finish. That is where the prize awaits at the finish line. To all my frustrated friends, what if the only reason that you have not experienced God’s Glory in your life is because you failed to take the last step over the finish line? John 4:35 goes on to say, “You know the saying, ‘Four months between planting and harvest.’ But I say, wake up and look around. The fields are already ripe for the harvest.” Are you getting the picture yet? We get so wrapped up in doing that we fail to see that God has already provided the blessing associated with obedience and calls it a prize. We just have to do the Will of God which is seek Him wholeheartedly. It is provided by His Grace not one’s ability to perform. So do good, do your best for the Lord in all things, and you will receive the prize because it has already been provided.
2 Timothy 4:7-8 (NLT)
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. And now the prize awaits me—the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of his return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his appearing.
The world does not dictate my outcomes. Do you believe that today? I do. The world does not decide if I am a success or failure. The only thing that matters at the end of each day is that I make it through with my faith in God intact and confident hope. I must remain faithful to the Lord in every task. Why? People are associated with the things that we do in life. God loves people and our mission field is where we work, the places we go and the way what we do impacts other people for the Kingdom of God. We want to be found righteous when we meet Jesus nothing else will get us into Heaven. This requires training.
I Corinthians 9:25-27 (NLT)
All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.
We must become disciplined when it comes to finishing those things that we start in life. Not just crawling over the finish line, but running the race of faith with a new level of commitment that allows us to finish with the eagerness and excitement that we had in the beginning. I must run with purpose in every step. This is tough when I am carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders so I must learn when I need to drop a few pounds and release my burden to the Lord.
I have decided that I am going to run/walk my first 5K in October. I have often said that I am not a runner. I want to be a runner but my body and I are at odds. Over the last couple of years, I have been working out and spending a great deal of time on the elliptical at the gym. I am finding that my endurance is better and I am able to run longer distances without passing out. I want to cross the finish line of a 5K race just to prove that I am a runner or at least can run. I must continue to work on my endurance and “train’ I use the term lightly for my real running buddies. It is a personal goal that I believe God is honoring in my heart. I must train my body. I must discipline my heart and mind to get on board to meet this goal. I must live intentionally for that purpose of completing this desire. I am a runner hiding in a walker’s body. I am a finisher who just needs to take one more step. I am complete in the Eyes of Christ so I must see myself that way, too.
Ecclesiastes 7:8 (NLT) Finishing is better than starting. Patience is better than pride.
Today, I will turn in my resignation to a job that I love. I know that my season in this workplace is ending and God has opened a new door. I am ready to step through but before I do I must finish the things that I have started here. I will talk to my administration. I will make a list of the tasks that I need to complete before I officially leave my position. I could write a volume of reasons why I am going now but there is no point because the only real valid one is that the Lord released me into my next season. Otherwise, I would have kept pressing on in this one. There are many things that I will not be able to complete as I would like to before I go and that really chafes my pride. As I read the wisdom of Solomon, I embrace it. Finishing is better than starting. I understand. Patience is better than pride. This is probably the hardest thing for us as humans to grasp and execute in our life. The Lord establishes the starts and finishes in our life according to His Plan for us not our own goals and aspirations. He is marking out His Will and Way that is the very best. I must be committed to finishing today the race of faith not my own person satisfaction. I will run the race of faith leaving my pride behind. I want what the Lord has for me which is secure by the position that His Grace has afforded me called righteousness and not anything I am capable of doing. I run for the eternal prize which always means finishing that which we start. So what are we waiting for today, let’s finish!
Acts 20:24 (NLT)
But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God.