4. To completion.
And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
Philippians 1:6, ESV
There's usually consistency in what God is doing in our lives. There's no doubt God's call came to me in the summer of 1969 while I was a Junior cadet at The Citadel. Time, studies, late teen interests, marriage, children, and business careers kept me occupied for the next ten years. And, my stubbornness, by the way. But, he was guiding those years in a consistent way that was not apparent to us at the time. Harriet and I met at church, in Raleigh, North Carolina. My bank assignment took us to Goldsboro, North Carolina where we became active in a local Baptist church. I was also very involved in a national civic organization, serving as President one year, and as regional Lieutenant Governor several years later. These involvements opened almost weekly doors of public speaking, addressing civic clubs around North Carolina, regional meetings, and banking organizations. Our church elected me as a deacon, and I started teaching a young adult Bible study every week. People would often ask why I was spending ten hours a day in a bank or later hospital administrative office when I should be preaching or teaching. When we finally answered God's call, we presented ourselves to the church so they could recommend us to the seminary. When we told them what we were doing---preparing for the pastorate---almost all of them said, "Well, duh! What else is new". God had been preparing us for this over a period of time.
The Apostle Paul's word to the Philippians was a reminder that God will bring to completion what he has started in us. There's some debate about what he meant when he wrote the words "...at the day of Jesus Christ". Let's not go there now. We'll let the theologians and Bible scholars argue their apocalyptic preferences and suggest alternative meanings. In my mind the completion of God's work will be on the day portrayed in the parable of the talents told by Jesus in Matthew 25: 14-30. It was the day the master of the house returned and settled accounts. They were victorious words spoken to the faithfully obedient servants---"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". It is the celebration of joy when Christ followers are blessed for the obedient and faithful use of their life resources. Genuine servants prepare for their Master's coming and are ready to receive his blessing. The servants who had not prepared for the master's return were completed as well. But, not victoriously.
In my limited theological perception these words are grounded in our expectation of his coming as a thief in the night. The Apostle Paul wrote about that day in his Second Epistle to Timothy---
Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the
righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who
have loved his appearing.
2 Timothy 4:8, ESV
This promise is not deserved or earned by works of righteousness but are the eternal gifts of God's grace. His grace will sustain and prepare us for that day, the result of God's consistent work in us until he returns. It is the finish line I have written about so many times. He will guide us to the finish that he's prepared for us. The promise of completion should equip us with the steadfast endurance needed for the journey.
What is God doing in your life? Pause and think about it today. Scroll back over your life events, connect the dots of his consistent work in you. What a joy to know he will bring to completions what he has started in each of us.