Skip to main content

And so it begins...

Are you a beginner, middler, or finisher?  You might think this question a little odd, but if you'd take a moment or two to actually answer it before you read the rest of this blog, I'd bet you might just come to come conclusions about yourself.  You see, there are those who begin a whole lot of stuff, but soon fizzle out in their pursuit of whatever it was simply because they lose interest.  Then there are those who get way into it and figure out it was going to be harder than they imagined, so they just abandon it right in the middle.  There are probably less in the last group of finishers because to actually get to the end of something, you sometimes have to push past the stuff which doesn't capture your interest with an awe-inspiring "hook" or keep you plugging along when the task gets hard.  Beginners make a lot of up-front investment, but seldom see any benefit from it.  Middlers might get a little out of their investment, but it isn't as much as it could be if they actually finished.  To get the most of anything, we have to finish it.  It isn't any different in our spiritual life - to begin is good - to finish is far better!

Something completed is better than something just begun; patience is better than too much pride. (Ecclesiastes 7:8 CEV)

I have begun a whole lot of things in my life.  I began to read War and Peace, but put it down after just a little while because it was hard to read and just plain didn't interest me.  I have begun on several occasions to let my hair grow out, but find myself soon losing patience with the effort it takes and cut it off again! I have begun many a diet, but I still don't follow any of them.  In beginning, we make a good effort to do something - but for whatever reason, the effort isn't continued.  Maybe this is the key - to go beyond beginning it requires effort.  At any beginning, we ride high on the emotional charge of beginning something new.  As we get into it a little bit, the emotional charge diminishes and now it becomes a little bit of effort.  Therein lies the issue - we just don't count the cost before we begin.

Those things in life which I have actually made it a little further with, but which I didn't finish, also required effort - sometimes beyond what I was willing to give, or just too much for my heart or mind to get into.  I can think of some dating relationships I have started, thinking they were going to be the right thing for me, then midway through I realized my heart wasn't really into getting past the hard stuff in them!  You ever been there?  It is pretty doggone hard to continue in something which you cannot put your heart and soul into, isn't it?  

I began a friendship with them because I found we had common interests, or we just hit it off to begin with.  Midway through it became apparent how much "work" these relationships actually required - they were "high maintenance" relationships. There was a lot of baggage.  If you have ever been in one of those, you know just how much they drain you of everything you can pour into the relationship.  If you have more than one of them at a time, they can actually exhaust you!  For a while, you can pour your heart into it, but if there is no "balance" in the relationship, you soon feel the "weight" of being the only one "putting into" the relationship and the "baggage" becomes too much to actually carry alone.

Finishing actually requires us to not only begin, but to persevere in the middle! We are kind of spoiled today - we want "instant" - so when instant doesn't happen for us, we sometimes get annoyed with the progress we are making and just walk away.  War and Peace I could put down - it didn't really matter if I finished it!  The Word of God, from cover to cover, was worth my investment - a hard read at times - but definitely worth the effort!  Yes, even those couple of dating relationships were okay to explore, but they weren't the right ones for a life-long commitment.  The relationship I have with Jesus on the other hand - I cannot walk away from this one!  

Now, the effort I put into my relationship with Jesus and in getting into his Word is not always "easy", nor is it "instantly rewarding".  Some days I am just like you - my prayers feel like they are bouncing back to me without any answer; the passages seem to be words on the page, but never striking a chord in my heart; and sometimes it is just plain hard to make time for either in my hectic life!  I keep in mind what Jesus said about beginnings - we are "born again" into newness of life with him.  But...we don't stop there - he then calls us to continue in the pursuit of this new life in him as followers - disciples.  Disciples are students of the Teacher - they put in the effort to learn all the Teacher has in store for them.  It may be hard at times, but trust me on this one, it is worth every investment of the heart, mind, and soul you will put into it!  Just sayin!


Popular posts from this blog

What did obedience cost Mary and Joseph?

As we have looked at the birth of Christ, we have considered the fact he was born of a virgin, with an earthly father so willing to honor God with his life that he married a woman who was already pregnant.  In that day and time, a very taboo thing.  We also saw how the mother of Christ was chosen by God and given the dramatic news that she would carry the Son of God.  Imagine her awe, but also see her tremendous amount of fear as she would have received this announcement, knowing all she knew about the time in which she lived about how a woman out of wedlock showing up pregnant would be treated.  We also explored the lowly birth of Jesus in a stable of sorts, surrounded by animals, visited by shepherds, and then honored by magi from afar.  The announcement of his birth was by angels - start to finish.  Mary heard from an angel (a messenger from God), while Joseph was set at ease by a messenger from God on another occasion - assuring him the thing he was about to do in marrying Mary wa

A brilliant display indeed

Love from the center of who you are ; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply ; practice playing second fiddle. Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder. (Romans 12:9-12) Integrity and Intensity don't seem to fit together all that well, but they are uniquely interwoven traits which actually complement each other. "Love from the center of who you are; don't fake it." God asks for us to have some intensity (fervor) in how we love (from the center of who we are), but he also expects us to have integrity in our love as he asks us to be real in our love (don't fake it). They are indeed integral to each other. At first, we may only think of integrity as honesty - some adherence to a moral code within. I believe there is a little more to integrity than meets the eye. In the most literal sense,

The bobby pin in the electrical socket does what???

Avoidance is the act of staying away from something - usually because it brings some kind of negative effect into your life.  For example, if you are a diabetic, you avoid the intake of high quantities of simple sugars because they bring the negative effect of elevating your blood glucose to unhealthy levels.  If you were like me as a kid, listening to mom and dad tell you the electrical outlets were actually dangerous didn't matter all that much until you put the bobby pin into the tiny slots and felt that jolt of electric current course through your body! At that point, you recognized electricity as having a "dangerous" side to it - it produces negative effects when embraced in a wrong manner.  Both of these are good things, when used correctly.  Sugar has a benefit of producing energy within our cells, but an over-abundance of it will have a bad effect.  Electricity lights our path and keeps us warm on cold nights, but not contained as it should be and it can produce