When I first had the idea to start a neighborhood Bible study, I was so excited! I sketched an invitation and marked a date on my calendar, envisioning my living room filled with neighbors sipping coffee over open Bibles. But it didn’t take long for the enormity of this dream to overwhelm me and so I did nothing.
There are a lot of reasons we fail to finish what we’ve started.
Fear always tops my list, followed by laziness. Sometimes I’m exhausted, other times I’m distracted — in fact, a recent study showed the average human attention span has dropped from 12 seconds in 2000 to only 8 seconds today — that’s less than a goldfish (9 seconds)!
King Solomon — distracted with making many wives happy, piling up money and running a nation — managed to pen these wise words:
“Finishing is better than starting. Patience is better than pride.” Ecclesiastes 7:8 NLT
Starting something new is invigorating and fun (remember all those New Year’s resolutions?), and beginnings can be somewhat boastful — “Look what I’m going to do!”
Finishing well requires patience, persistence and a reliance on God that only comes from facing God-sized dreams. Colossians 4:17 (GNT) says,
“Tell Amy, ‘Be sure to finish the work the Lord gave you.’”
Okay, that verse was actually written to Archippus, a leader in the early church who was probably related to Philemon. Paul called him out again with this encouragement:
“I am praying that Amy will put into action the generosity that comes from her faith as she understands and experiences all the good things she has in Christ.” Philemon 1:6 NLT
Okay, that verse doesn’t really have my name in it, but it could — you can write your own name in there, too. As we comprehend what Christ has done for us and in us, we allow Him to work through us by putting our faith into action.
My vision of a neighborhood Bible study wasn’t just a dream, it was a direct command from God. And it wasn’t about me — my cutesy invitation or my crowded calendar, my desire to teach or my guilt over not knowing my neighbors, let alone loving them. Only when I finished what I started did I realize this was about my neighbors. The women I met in my own home changed the way I view community, transformed my heart toward my neighbors and became treasured friends.
When we look past the overwhelming details of our dreams and peek over our looming excuses, we can see who is on the other side of the outcome. There is a real woman waiting for you to send that email, plan that gathering or take that chance. You must finish for her.
And we must finish for our Lord. Jesus finished well by keeping His eyes on the higher calling. He said to His Father,
“I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do.” John 17:4 NIV
Finishing is hard work, but it’s worth it.
→ Learn from Amy the “how-to” of finishing well in this article for members of womensministry.net.
GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment sharing how this tip has inspired or encouraged you and be entered to win a copy of Amy’s book, How to Love Your Neighbor Without Being Weird. Winner will be randomly selected from comments left by March 15, 2017.