I’m an expert at starting things; it’s the completing that I’m not so good at. I have a small stack of books on my nightstand that I have been meaning to finish. In my backyard is some potting soil and mulch that I bought a couple of weeks ago for a backyard project that I haven’t gotten to either. And there are countless song ideas waiting to be finished on my phone’s audio notes app. Sometimes we are so excited, so passionate about something at the start, but when it comes to finishing, we run out of steam.
Ecclesiastes 7:8 says, “The end of a thing is better than its beginning.”
My initial thought is to disagree. “Well, what about all it took to start, and what about the hard parts in the middle where I wanted to give up? Isn’t that important too?” But, as I ponder this verse deeper, I come to realize that the end really is better than the beginning.
Have you ever heard of a Ragnar race? I hadn’t either until a friend of mine started posting about a race she was taking part in. A Ragnar is a running race that covers the shocking distance of 200 miles! The difference between a Ragnar and your typical marathon race is that it is completed using a team. In my extensive research (not really, I just looked at a few websites) I found that there are two types of teams, ultra and regular. Regular is a team of 12 runners, while ultra is a team of six. Now, I don’t mind running, but oh my stars, that is a lot of miles, even to share with others!
Imagine being the first team member to run on a Ragnar team. It must take an amazing amount of mental fortitude to wrap your mind around finishing a 200-mile race when you’re only just starting mile one. But these Ragnar teams don’t focus on 200 miles; they focus on their own portion. And when they come to the end of the race, I’m sure they all share stories of how they made it through their part of the race. How their legs started to give out on them, or how they wanted to give up. Once the race is over, they are able to look back on how they worked together and arrived at the finish line. They always say hindsight is 20/20. When we’ve come to the end of anything in life, a difficult relationship, a project that felt it would never be finished or a ministry that sometimes feels like herding cats, we can take a look at all that has happened and evaluate the lessons learned in the process.
I wonder what would happen if a member of a Ragnar team just stopped running and decided to quit. How disappointed would the rest of the team be?
Have you ever just thrown your hands up and said, “Nope. All done. Too much!”
Often times we tend to give up when the finish line is within reach. But, where your mind goes, your feet will follow. Sometimes it has more to do with wrapping your mind around the task ahead and remembering that God never leaves us on our own to accomplish anything He’s called us to. When you feel like you are running out of hope and the finish line seems too far ahead, let these words from Galatians 6:9 encourage you.
“So let's not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don't give up.”
Hang in there my friends; it is always too soon to quit.