Pause for thought
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I think it is safe to say that nothing is more frustrating in our lives than unfinished tasks.

It’s the flip side of procrastination. When we procrastinate we never seem to be able to get something started. And of course, something that never gets started can never get finished. But things that do get started but never get finished engender sadness because of the unfulfilled potential and wasted resources.

One of the sayings of my mother was, “…if a job is worth doing, it’s worth doing well!” and that included finishing whatever I started.

Such advice is timeless, of course, and although I am speculating, I believe that Joseph the carpenter/builder probably taught his son/apprentice Jesus the same thing. Do your best work, complete the job!

So it was when Jesus left the carpentry business to begin his two-fold mission to rescue humankind from the condemnation of sin, and to teach the Jewish people about the realities of the Messiah and the coming Kingdon of God. He certainly got off to a good start,

And a voice from heaven said, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.” Matthew 3:17 NLT

But while starting was important, finishing was even more important.

Starting was relatively easy, although it did involve leaving home and family, but there was always the possibility of giving up and going back to safety, security, and obscurity.

Finishing was always going to be the difficult part, but Jesus was determined to see his job through to the end. It was what sustained him:

Then Jesus explained: “My nourishment comes from doing the will of God, who sent me, and from finishing his work.” John 4:34 NLT

Jesus saw his three major objectives through to completion.

Firstly, on the cross he references Psalm 22:15 with regard to his thirst and then pays the ultimate price for all sin for all people for all time!

Jesus knew that his mission was now finished, and to fulfill Scripture he said, “I am thirsty.” A jar of sour wine was sitting there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put it on a hyssop branch, and held it up to his lips. When Jesus had tasted it, he said, “It is finished!” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. John 19:28-30 NLT

His second great “finish” was to be raised from the dead on that first Easter Sunday. As Paul explains to the Church in Corinth:

And if Christ has not been raised, then all our preaching is useless, and your faith is useless. And we apostles would all be lying about God—for we have said that God raised Christ from the grave. But that can’t be true if there is no resurrection of the dead. And if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then your faith is useless and you are still guilty of your sins. 1 Corinthians 15:14-17 NLT

His third great “finish” was to return to be with the Father and the Holy Spirit so that he can be our advocate and defender:

After saying this, he was taken up into a cloud while they were watching, and they could no longer see him. As they strained to see him rising into heaven, two white-robed men suddenly stood among them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why are you standing here staring into heaven? Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but someday he will return from heaven in the same way you saw him go!” Acts 1:9-11 NLT

Undoubtedly, Christmas was an astounding “start” of God’s great project to rescue his creation, but it is the big three “finishes” of Jesus that complete the plan and make it possible for us to be certain that faith in Jesus and his completed mission ensures our eternal life.

We each have a “finish” to achieve — eternity in the presence of God — and there will be obstacles along the way, but if we follow Jesus’ example it will all be worth it. As the writer to the Hebrews puts it:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up. Hebrews 12:1-3 NLT

Jesus’ three great finishes on Good Friday, Easter Sunday, and Ascension Day become the pattern for our spiritual journey: death to our sinful nature, resurrection as a new creation and eternity in the presence of our creator.

He has already done all the "heavy lifting" for us, all that’s left is to rely on him while we finish our project!

Let’s keep on keeping on until we get to hear:

The master was full of praise. ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant.” Matthew 25:21 NLT

See you at the finish line!

Blessings on you and yours, Jim Black

P.S. if you’d like to read previous ruminations of mine they can be found at

Friday April 5th, 2024