Race to the Start or to the Finish?
Finishing is better than starting. Patience is better than pride. Ecclesiastes 7:8 NLT
How many people set out to train for a long-distance run only to get to race day, do their pre-race warm-ups, take their place at the starting line, make it across the starting line, then throw both arms straight up in the air while shouting, “YES! I started the race!”, and then step off the course and go home?
Yeah. I don’t know one person who has ever done that.
As a matter of fact, my left hip was completely out of place the last half of the first half-marathon I completed. That pain didn’t matter at the time. I was going to FINISH the course. I had trained for it. I had raised money for Leukemia and Lymphoma Society for it. By golly, if cancer patients could fight through the pain to the finish, I could fight through the pain to the finish.
We don’t get to celebrate starting the race unless we actually finish it.
Last year I tried something new instead of setting a long list of New Year’s Resolutions I knew I’d give up on before January was even over. Instead of resolutions, I chose SEEK as My One Word for 2014. You can read about that here.
I’ve been thinking and praying about 2015’s word since the end of October, but the signs were obviously all around me. In full color in a couple cases. Let me explain.
I am one of the best starters you’ll ever meet. I pour hours of time and preparation into planning everything. Events, daily schedules, lesson plans, how to get everything and anything done.
I am a list maker. I make lists about lists.
I can motivate and encourage other people to get involved, get on board, and buy in to the plan. I can build the dream of one into a team of 30 pretty quickly. I breathe energy and life into the plan.
Kickoff events are amazing for me. I love to gather groups of people and introduce them to something they had no idea they were passionate about until that moment. I love to experience the charge that fills God’s people when the Holy Spirit comes rushing in.
If you want help getting something off the ground, call me. I know where my strengths lie.
If you want something to continue long-term at that same level of intensity, well, you better hope a few of those 30 people we enrolled in your dream will come behind and be the kind of people who want the behind the scenes, take care of the necessary daily details, kind of people.
I’m the plan and perform kind of people. I’m not so much the cut out, decorate, run copies, call and invite, bring the snacks, count the offering, take attendance kind of people.
Want me to counsel someone on the spot? Sure. Want me to be in a drama. Sure. Want me to put together your curriculum? Sure.
Want me to buy, sort, prepare, make samples, etc. for your weekly craft? Um, probably not going to happen. Want me to do follow-up with people in attendance last week? Maybe one week, but not on a regular basis.
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. 2 Corinthians 8:11
It’s not just activities and events.
Painting my bedroom walls? I tested that new color out with gusto and excitement! Watching paint dry was FUN! Seven months later one and one-thirds of my bedroom walls are gray. The rest of them ore still half orange and half dark leather treatment.
Kitchen cabinets? Also still two colors. Years later.
The extra room I started cleaning out this summer to make the music studio? Still has boxes labeled “TRASH” that need to be hauled out, “DONATE” that need to go, and has yet again been filled full with new stuff that we just don’t know what to do with. Not that I ever finished going through the old stuff.
Ministry plans? Same way. Job dreams? Same way. Hobbies? Same way.
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. Acts 20:24 NLT
I am an amazing starter. I need to become a finisher. So, my one word for 2015 is FINISH. I must be faithful with what I have before God can trust me with anymore. I can’t wait to see what God can FINISH through me this year, and what he can help me to get FINISHED.
So, did you choose a word for 2015? I’d love to hear what you chose! I’d also love to have some accountability partners to check in with throughout the year. Please leave me a comment if you are participating!