Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Beginnings are easy!

8 Endings are better than beginnings. 
   Sticking to it is better than standing out.
(Ecclesiastes 7:8)

I think that many of us do a great job at STARTING stuff - our hobby cabinets, bookshelves, and garages give testament to that fact.  Yet, I wonder how many of us really FINISH what it is we start!  I have a very creative daughter.  In school, she would take all kinds of arts classes.  I always enjoyed seeing what it was she created.  She'd take on new projects with all the flare of creativity she could muster up, then when the project was taking too long, or something else caught her interest...it would be put aside unfinished.  Another side of this story is my tendency to read as many as five books at one time.  I will start them, put them down and take up a new one.  When the mood hits me for a little of the mystery, I pick it back up, then it gets put down for the humor of the comedy, and so on.  

It should not surprise you that we are very "moody" people.  We are driven by our emotions.  If we "feel" it, we pursue it.  If we don't, we just let it pass on by.  Why?  I think it is because we have some desire to feel "good" about what it is we are doing.  I remember watching the Apollo missions while I was in grade school.  The TV would be rolled into the classroom and we'd sit mesmerized watching as the lift-off would happen, then oooh and aaah when the separation of rockets would occur.  I was certain that those men felt "good" about their mission in life.  During that time in my life most of you would say I was a "loner".  I spent almost all of my free time alone - a lot of it just exploring, considering "stuff", and playing the good old fashioned way we did back then.  I didn't read a lot then - just hung out in the great outdoors of Arizona and did "stuff".  

I recall being inspired by those Apollo missions, working for days on a toothpick and Popsicle stick version of the Apollo spacecraft.  I not only ate Popsicles in order to "supply" my building materials, but I went to where the ice cream truck stopped and collected all the discarded ones left behind by others that enjoyed hanging out under a tree eating their latest purchases.  This creative project took some time - after all, we did not have super-glue or hot-glue guns in those days!  It was good old Elmer's Glue for me!  I really don't know how many boxes of toothpicks went into that three foot tall creation, but there were a lot!  Then that "idea" resulted in building a house from those same materials, and then another, until I had a small settlement in the backyard.  I was finally finished when all the pop bottle refunds I could muster up were all spent on the boxes of toothpicks and glue that went into the projects!

We all learn the most from that which we actually see through to the end in life.  Those "false starts" we may make at this little project and that new venture are simply that - false!  Whenever our emotions are allowed to rule how we feel (and therefore, what it is we engage in), there is opportunity for many a "false start".  Solomon tells us that "beginnings" are easy - it is the "finishing" that is hard.  We "begin" with a flourish - how many of us actually "end" with as great a flourish?  It is in the beginning that we seem to put all of our attention.  If you don't believe me, think about what happens each January.  People think about "getting healthier" and then they make all kinds of plans.  They join the gym, buy workout clothing, and purchase the latest running shoes to give them the "edge".  By January 15th, most of this stuff is in the back of the closet and the gym membership is discarded!

The ending is where we should focus - the beginning is less important than the ending.  We sometimes don't "end well" because we had a misconception about what the "project" we call life will entail.  The fact is, the "building" of the good stuff in our lives is often a tedious process (just like toothpicks and Elmer's Glue made for slow work in building a spacecraft!).  It is in the "sticking to it" that we find the results we really desire.  I don't know what God has been speaking to you about, but if he is asking you to "begin", just know that he will help you "finish"!  We don't have to "feel like it" all along the way - but when we finally "push past" our emotions, we often get the wind in our sails to see it through to completion!

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