Finish What You Start
"'My food,' said Jesus, 'is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.'" John 4:34 (NIV)
I excel at starting projects. Especially those that include a trip to the office supply store, where I can stock up on new notebooks, file folders and pens. Optimism abounds at the beginning of something new. Then reality hits.
What seemed fun at first is actually hard work. Discouragement sets in. Perfectionist tendencies stifle moving forward. And it's easy to give up rather than finish what I start.
One of my problems is a lack of focus. There's so much I want to do that my thoughts are often scattered. I allow myself to be pulled in multiple directions, intrigued by the possibilities of a new and exciting project. Plus, sometimes I do things just because I can. This approach often leaves me with a to-do list that's seriously un-doable.
Finishing well requires discipline that doesn't come naturally. But it's key to living a life that's manageable and reflects God's priorities for me. So while my shelves include books on time management and productivity, the best role model of finishing well is Jesus.
Jesus is the picture of focus and discipline, especially in the midst of many people demanding His attention. In the book of John we read a story about Jesus sitting by a well while His disciples went for food. As He waited, a solitary woman came to draw water and Jesus engaged her in a life-changing conversation-not only for her but for her entire village.
On this day, Jesus could have pleaded exhaustion or frustration. He'd been traveling, it was warm, and He was hungry. One of those challenges would have been enough to derail me. Instead Jesus narrowed His focus on one woman and finished the assignment God gave Him.
After reuniting with His disciples, they tried to get Jesus to eat. He responded: "'My food,' said Jesus, 'is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.'" (John 4:34 NIV)
Jesus knew what His Father had asked Him to do and was committed to "finish" this work. In this passage, Jesus models clarity of purpose, perseverance and compassion; all characteristics I want.
If you feel like you are always starting things and never finishing, perhaps it would help to focus on only one or two things God is calling you to today. Don't try and tackle everything at once. Ask God for His priorities for your life, and concentrate on doing your best in those areas.
Changing life-long patterns of not finishing things will take time. I've learned when I submit my overwhelmed feelings to God, He gives me strength to persevere.
Dear Lord, thank You for forgiving me when I fall short. Help me be like Jesus and be focused on Your will and work. Show me Your priorities for my life. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Reflect and Respond:
Is there something you know God wants you to do, but you haven't done it? What is it?
Identify one or two areas that you believe God wants you to focus on this year. Ask God to help you align all areas of your life with His priorities for you.
Hebrews 10:35-36, "So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised." (NIV)
James 1:2-4, "Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." (NAS)
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