How many projects, programs, or pursuits have you started that you never got around to finishing? Most of us can look back at our life journey and see lots of abandoned plans, ideas, goals, and initiatives laying along the proverbial roadside. These “starts” usually begin with lots of excitement, passion and a boatload of great intentions. But somewhere along the way our initial excitement wanes and the hard work sets in. That’s when we’re tempted to shift our focus, stop the follow-through, and forfeit the finish.
Finishes are important. When the Israelites were crossing the Jordan River to enter their Promised Land, their celebration was saved until the goal was finished. Take a look at a part of this story:
Joshua 4:1-3 (NIV) When the whole nation had finished crossing the Jordan, the Lord said to Joshua, “Choose twelve men from among the people, one from each tribe, and tell them to take up twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan, from right where the priests are standing, and carry them over with you and put them down at the place where you stay tonight.”
Joshua 4:9 (NIV) Joshua set up the twelve stones that had been in the middle of the Jordan at the spot where the priests who carried the ark of the covenant had stood. And they are there to this day.
Once all the people were in the Promised Land, God instructed them to set up a memorial of the miracle. A monument of 12 stones was to be built so that people would remember and continue to celebrate this incredible moment. This happened “when the whole nation had finished crossing!” The “finishing” came before the “celebrating.”
There’s a valuable lesson in this for us. It’s not what you start that ultimately matters. It’s what you finish that’s important. Obviously you can’t finish what you don’t start, so starting the right things is extremely important also. However, success is only partially and slightly measured in starts. It’s primarily measured and celebrated in finishes.
In this situation, the memorial wasn’t erected until the crossing was finished. Celebrations are saved for finishing. Memorials are constructed for finishes.
What good things have you started in your life that now need finishing?
Develop your finishing abilities. Start the right things, and finish them!