Authors note: Serving as an Adjunct Professor in the School of Christian Studies at Charleston Southern University has been such a joyful blessing. Because both subjects are new to me I've had to prepare on the fly. Which means there's been some time adjustments to my laid back retired lifestyle. So, I've decided to scale back on the finishperiod.com blog and will be posting on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays for the next couple of months. Monday will feature devotional thoughts about starting, Wednesday thoughts will be about persisting and enduring the hardships in those electives we've started, and Friday posts will be about finishing what we start, of course. Also, Mr. Jabberbox will provide devotional thoughts rather than dissertations. Thanks for visiting and reading. My prayer is to be a blessing to anyone struggling with any life issues that, when they weigh on us too heavily, we're tempted to quit.
Along with way, Harriet and I, along with Liz and Brian when God brought them into our lives, developed our own program of getting off the grid. Harriet coined the name for our aimless wandering. We would go "stomping". Usually there wasn't a defined geographical destination. Most of the time we'd just head out, tour a place, pick up some groceries, "stomp" through the mall or downtown area, have a treat, or just wander. But, even that kind of journey had a destination. Most often the destination involved time. We'd just know when it was time to return to the house.
Destinations are significant. And, in my opinion, many of us end our objectives and goals because the destination is unclear or distant, as in the picture I've chosen for the Monday blog posts. It's out there somewhere on the horizon. But, in many circumstances, especially for busy people in this consumer culture, it's indistinct. And, life without goals and objections, what we now refer to as mission or passion, can just be "stomping". Sure, we all need to get off the treadmill at times. Still, most of our pursuits in this life need a destination to keep us in the game.
One of the most inspiring life destination examples is Doctor Luke's tracking of Jesus' journey to Jerusalem. it is a recurring theme in Luke's Gospel beginning at Luke 9:51. Luke wrote---
When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to
This was a turning point in the ministry of Jesus. From that introduction Luke mentioned the purposeful, intentional destination of Jesus and the disciples until their eventual arrival in Jerusalem. You can track it at Luke 9:57; 10:1; 10:38; 13:22; 13:33; 17:11; 18:31; 19:1; 1911; 19:28; and 19:41. The capstone of this travel itinerary was 13:33---
Nevertheless, I must go on my way today and tomorrow and the day following,
for it cannot be that a prophet should perish away from Jerusalem.
Luke makes it clear that there was ministry along the way. Jesus taught the people in the towns and villages they passed through, healed the sick, and touched many lives. But, the destination was clear from the outset. Jesus would not be distracted or detoured from his destination. His mission was death on a cross in Jerusalem.
Life is hard and unpredictable. As a culture we are busy and occupied but have become a society of starting much and finishing little. It's a visible descriptive of contemporary life to start many things and complete few. The church drop out rate in trending upward, mission is a sidebar to distractions and interruptions in nearly every life venue---church, family, disciple making, relationships, and so much more. In many instances veering happens because the destination is unclear. Someone said that the road signs of life have become more important than the destination. Go figure!
They say life is a journey and not a destination. Perhaps that is true to some degree. For my Christian worldview, however, there's always a destination, a finish line. Jesus told a parable about finishing. The destination for me, even when that point out there on the landscape is distant, is to hear the words, "Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master." (Matthew 25:21). It's an ultimate destination guiding the others that comprise this life. It always gives me the sense of destination at the end of every start.
Starting well usually means having a destination in sight. And, a finish line makes finishing well a much greater joy.