When one comes to the end of something, there is no more they can do. The race is over, the workday ending time has arrived. The time has come to quit whatever activity until another time comes to start. I’m coming to the end of my time in Africa. On a certain day, I will get on a plane and go to my home country. At that point, I will no longer have my role. My home will be dissolved, my housemate will, likewise, depart. That’s the end of my work here. But that’s not the same thing as finishing.
Finishing means you have goals and plans, and those need to be completed before you get to the end. So, finishing takes longer than an ending. Finishing is active engagement, a sense of purpose.
What does finishing mean for you? For me? Why is finishing important anyway?
I started with a task to do. I’ve worked hard and pretty much completed it. Handing off is the major problem now. So, documentation is my next best option. The temptation is to keep tinkering with it, but I must set a time and hold to it. Deadlines have their importance. Then I have fulfilled my side of the commitment to the best of my ability. What happens next is not up to me. I must leave all in the hands of God.
John 19:20 Jesus said, “It is finished!” Then he bowed his head and released his spirit.
Jesus finished, then it was the end. Joyce Rupp, in Praying Our Goodbyes, describes this as Jesus’ “Goodbye”. But then came the “Hello”!
Jesus’ disciples were focused on the goodbye, but Jesus had moved on to the Hello – to Mary, to the disciples, on the road to Emmaus, at the beach, “Come and have breakfast.”
Beginning and start have the same parallels as finishing and end. Start is a beginning point at which one takes action – a new action. Start the race, start the car. But when you start, you need to know what to do. What are you beginning? Beginning implies it is the first step of many – that there is a goal or plan involved. One begins a journey.
Genesis 1:1, 3 In the beginning, God created (started creating) the heavens and the earth…Then God said, “Let there be light” and there was light.
Before God started, He had a plan. What is my new beginning? How will I start? The prospects are endless. But it takes courage to start. LORD, give me the courage that I lack to start anew.