When I saw this verse pop up in my daily verse on an app I use on my phone, I was taken aback. I don’t remember ever reading this verse, even though I know I have technically read Ecclesiastes a few times. And if I had read it and thought on it, I wouldn’t have liked it. Not because it’s false, surely, but because it’s true.
The line about ‘the first step is always the hardest’ wasn’t made for a person like me. I’m great at ‘showing up’. I’m great at starting things. I start things ALL the TIME. In fact, I feel down and lethargic when I don’t have some sort of idea brewing in my mind. Maybe it’s a new healthy eating meal plan, or ideas about how I’m going to make exercising fun that week. Or it can be craft projects too. I’m notorious for cutting out the pattern, cutting out the fabric, and pinning the first few cuts together – but then it sits. I have a whole shelf full of bags that each have a sewing project I left mid-stream. And why? I find out it’s going to take me longer than I hope. It’s too hard. Maybe that wasn’t the best color fabric to use. I’m bored. The list goes on and on.
Am I reading into this verse too much? Or taking it too far out of context? Maybe. But for me, I have found it is a beautiful reminder that we, as Christians, those chosen by God Himself, are meant to follow through. We’re meant to complete things for His glory. And it’s not just projects. It’s making the right decision about something everyday – times 100. I need to brush my teeth every day, tidy the house every day, eat a healthy lunch every day – to name a few very basic ones. But you know what? There are days I forget to brush my teeth (I can hear the jeers already…) But it’s true. I’m human. I err. And you know what else? I bet I will have some serious dental problems as I get older. That’s just a result of me not being diligent in the day to day.
Now take it to another level. A much more important level.
Daily bible reading.
How many days this week did you read your bible? I’m happy to say I only missed one day, but I read two portions the following day to keep myself on track. But this has been a good week. There are times when I forget, am ‘too tired’ by the time I get around to it, or any other host of sad excuses.
Now consider the 2nd part of the verse: patient vs proud. I can see this very easily, again using a craft project as an easy illustration (there are more heart related examples I can think of, but aren’t crafts easier to blame then our hearts?…). I want the ‘glory’ that comes from a completed project. At least, that’s what I have in mind when I am in the idea phase of my creations. I get excited about the outcome, so have an easy time mapping out the steps to get there. But then, I have some sort of excuse to not complete it. Because, let’s be honest with ourselves – we’re impatient. We want that aforementioned glory NOW. We don’t want to put the work in.
It’s the same with anything. Even the important things. I remember being envious of people who so easily could quote scripture for specific situations that were being discussed. I wanted to be like that. To be able to share my wisdom with the world (yes, my tongue is in my cheek… ha!). But it takes work. It takes continual study of the bible. It takes memorization, which takes patience and endurance. Am I willing to be patient and to pursue the right things for the right reasons? Namely, God’s glory, not mine. And maybe, just maybe… if we stick with it to the end, we will also develop a spirit of patience. And in so doing, become more like Christ. And that, as always, is the ultimate point.
So there are two levels of this I want to work on in my life. 1) is in the smaller, project based things. If I start making a card, or a knitting a hat, or planning recipe/blog post, I want to follow it through. 2) is in the larger picture things, but that require daily commitment. Like reading my bible and brushing my teeth. Because I don’t want to be a toothless old lady who never truly got to know her Savior…
What about you? How does this passage apply to you?
Ecclesiastes 7:8 – Better is the end of a thing than its beginning, and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.
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