Every year I watch people get excited about some new project or ministry. They develop a plan of some sort, then gather the needed support, and off they go. Convinced they are going to change the world into a better place they venture out in the name of Jesus doing good work.
New beginnings are exciting. You can usually gather support quickly for a bold new work. People will admire your vision and your big heart. Others will applaud and tell you how proud they are of your work. Some will even sign up to help whenever they can. Leaders will pat you on the back. Good feelings will fill the air mixed with excitement as you can sense something significant is happening.
Also, every year I watch new ideas die. The plans were only to get started and not how to maintain. The support shifted as new ideas were presented. The world didn’t change; in fact, it seemed to change us as we encountered obstacles and bureaucracy we didn’t know existed. People stopped applauding, and the excitement waned as the work became a daily grind.
I can think of fifty people or more with great ideas. About half of them have the foresight to get things off the ground. Possibly two or three have the fortitude to see their work to completion.
Jesus asks a couple of interesting questions. Does someone build a tower unless he has the ability to finish it? Does someone go to war without first counting his soldiers to see if he can win? (see Luke 14:25-33)
The interesting part of these questions is the context in which they are given. Jesus is telling his followers the hardships they are going to encounter as his disciples. If they are going to follow him, it is going to cost their whole lives. It will affect everything including their family relationships. Jesus words are to people who want to follow him in faith. Do you have the strength of spirit to be a disciple through all of life’s difficulties?
All of us have watched people fail in ministry and business because they could not do the daily work needed to bring a task to completion. Unfortunately, we can also name several people who quit their faith because the did not have the strength to finish either.
I am reminded of this truth every Wednesday. This is the day I am grinding my way through life. The joy of beginning and ending are both far away. Today I do work that is not fun or exciting. I make it through today only by routine and commitment.
One of the things no one told me when I decided to follow Jesus is how much of it would feel like Wednesday. Days like this remind me just to keep doing the right thing. The race is not to the swift or the strong, but to those who work steadily to achieve their goal.