Thursday, November 8, 2018

Start, stop, begin again

Have you ever started watching a movie and not finished it? How about a book? We make all kinds of attempts to get into the show, but find ourselves just not enthralled by the story line. We aren't 'hooked' by it - making it easier to turn it off than something that absolutely catches our attention and holds us enthralled till the end. Beginnings all have one thing in common - it is a start. Endings also have one thing in common - there has been endurance to push past even the hardest places that threatened to keep us from moving on.

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

Our year has flown by at record speed and as many of us sit looking at our "resolutions" made at some point within the year, we find ourselves conducting an inventory of our progress toward goals we had set for ourselves. Some of us will find ourselves having made a good start, but then petering out somewhere along the way! Isn't that always the case with our "resolutions" - they are good while they last, but they tend not to last! I have mentioned before that we might do well to focus on making a "revolution" in our life - not a "resolution". To some, those are just words, but if you know me by now - you know how much I enjoy looking at the words!

A resolution is simply an intention - formalized by some sort of plan. It is a determination of heart or mind, but it often lacks the quality of perseverance that is required to see it all the way through to completion. A revolution is the process whereby one set of actions is diminished (stopped, forsaken, or redirected) and replaced thoroughly by another. There is a clear difference when we look at them this way - one is well-intended, the other is well-planned, well-executed, and in the end, well-performed.

Revolution is similar to the process of metamorphosis - the process whereby the caterpillar emerges as a beautiful butterfly or delightfully colored moth. At one season, it appears one way, and at a different season it has been transformed into something that no longer resembles the former appearance! Now, translate that into everyday life with Jesus. We need revolution, not just resolution. Yes, we need to be resolute in our commitment to what he asks of us, but we need the revolutionary transformation of our lives that only he can bring.

Solomon reminds us that endings are better than beginnings. We often do much to celebrate the beginning of something. Yet, the ending is the most important part! Sticking to it is better than standing out. That's the key to "revolution" in our lives. If we want Jesus to transform us (create a metamorphic change in us), then we need the "stick-to-it" kind of commitment - even when something doesn't always have the greatest of appeal or seems a little harder than we imagined when we set out in that direction. There is a place for resolution, but the outcome we all desire is revolution.

As we look back over the year - evaluating the "resolution" we once exhibited toward the goals we might have set, we need to remember that  God is the MOST concerned with the revolution of our mind, emotions, and spirit - not with the loftiness of the resolution or the magnificence of the plan. Maybe it is time that we examine our "resolutions" in the spirit of making them "revolutions" in our life! It isn't that we begin - it is that we finish well. Just sayin!