Finish What You Started
As we prepare to usher in the Chinese New Year, we revisit a devotional by the late Michael Ross-Watson who ‘practiced what he preached’ and led, by example, a life that truly finished well.
Bible Reading: 2 Corinthians 8:10-11
“So here’s what I think: The best thing you can do right now is to finish what you started last year and not let those good intentions grow stale. Your heart’s been in the right place all along. You’ve got what it takes to finish it up, so go to it” [2 Corinthians 8:10-11 The Message].
A year before Paul wrote this epistle to the Corinthians he had challenged them to take up a collection for the saints living in poverty in Judea. They had enthusiastically embraced Paul’s request and begun to do what they had promised but had not finished what they had begun. Paul challenged them to finish what they had begun and not let their earlier good intentions grow stale.
Making a promise to do something is easy, but finishing what you started is often more difficult. Have you ever noticed the half way crisis! When you decorate a room it is easy to lose your enthusiasm when it is half done. It is often most discouraging when you set out on a long drive and have driven for hours, and then realise that you are still only half way to your destination!
When Nehemiah and the Israelites rebuilt the wall of Jerusalem they became discouraged when the wall was built to half its height. The workers complained to Nehemiah and said, “The strength of the labourers is failing, and there is so much rubbish that we are not able to build the wall” [Nehemiah 4:6,10 NKJV].
Paul writes, “He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ” [Philippians 1:6]. It is God’s nature to complete that which He has begun. It is a godly characteristic to complete what we start and not to give up until it is finished.
A student in our church Bible School who knew that God had called her to study in the school decided to give up at the beginning of the second of the three terms and go somewhere else that seemed more attractive. I warned her of the danger of starting things and not completing them and how that could become a negative life habit. The student went on to complete her Bible School studies before moving on to the next step in her spiritual journey. She shared with us how grateful she was that she had completed what she had started, and we could see in her a real growth in stability and maturity.
- Why is it important to keep the promises that we make to God and complete the things that we have begun to do?
- What have you begun to do and never completed? How do you feel about this, and what could you do to correct it?
- Not completing something we have begun can be as seemingly insignificant as beginning to read a book but not completing it. When did you last read a book from cover to cover and really felt good about it?
These devotionals have been shared here with the permission of Esther Ross-Watson, in loving memory of our Pastor, mentor and friend, Michael Ross-Watson (1946-2017).