You can ask my children if I’m telling the truth, but one of the things I have always told them was, “It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish!” Little did they know that there dad wasn’t all that brilliant in making that up, because he got it from the Bible. That’s right, King Solomon said it before I ever did. This is what he said…
“Finishing is better than starting…”
Ecclesiastes 7:8 NLT
“Something completed is better than something just begun…”
Ecclesiastes 7:8 CEV
Think about it for a moment. The Bible is chucked full of accounts of people who started well, but finished horribly, like King Saul and Judas. And the Bible also has plenty of people who started miserably but finished great.
Here’s a few of them that come to my mind!
Think of the demon possessed man in Mark 5. He lives in the cemetery… abuses himself… nobody likes him or even wants him around… he’s rude and crude to Jesus… but once set free from those demons by Jesus, he couldn’t help but go back home and tell his family and friends what the Lord did for him and how He had mercy on him.
Or how about Joseph. His brothers literally hate him, so much so they want to kill him, but instead sold him. Then after being deported he ends up in a country, far from home, where he doesn’t know the language or the customs. It’s there he lands a good job, but is accused of making sexual advances towards his bosses wife, which were totally false, and ends up in jail. But remember, it’s not how you start but how you finish. Joseph finished second in command of a whole country.
Or how about Paul. He was only doing what the world around him told him was success. He was a great legalist as a Pharisee. He was taught by the best. He was an up and rising star. He had a bright future according to himself and those around him. He was headed for the top until he got his priorities reorganized by Jesus Himself. His beginning wasn’t as great as he thought and he found out real quickly, “It’s not how you start but how you finish.” Paul had a tremendous finish.
Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: Maybe you’ve made some mistakes in your life. Maybe you’ve made some compromises you wished you had never made and done some things you shouldn’t have done. Maybe you now feel like you have no other choice, the die has been cast and your course is set. That’s not true. While you still have life and breath, you can still change. Repent! Ask God to forgive you. Because… it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish!
Forgive me. Give me a new start today! In Jesus name I ask this, Amen
Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen
Mark was Spiritual Director for VdC from 2016 to 2019. He's written many of the devotions, especially the Devote and Affirm series, found on this website.