Last week we mentioned that “just getting started is half the job”. That may be, but having started the job (i.e., those things that need to be done but often get shoved aside for less important matters) we still need to complete it, and it’s going to take more than “just getting started” to finish. So, using another idiom, “just throw yourself into it”; commit yourself to the task and “give it your all”. Once you’ve started some-thing – vital to your spiritual growth and service to Christ – if your heart isn’t committed to its completion, you’ll “run out of gas”. Okay, enough idioms.
Doesn’t God always finish what He started? Check the hundreds of fulfilled prophecies in the Old Testament. If we’re going to be holy as He is holy, sanctified for His service, then we need to throw ourselves into those daily tasks that draw us closer to Him and serve His purpose. Paul would say, “fight the good fight, finish the course, keep the faith” (2 Tim 4:7). There IS NO fighting, finishing or keeping apart from throwing ourselves into the daily actions needed to accomplish the goal.
Josiah is a great example. “He did right in the sight of the LORD and walked in all the way of his father David, nor did he turn aside to the right or to the left” (2 Kings 22:1-2). Now that is amazing considering that his grandfather Manasseh was THE evilest king ever to reign in Judah. It would take too much space to describe how Josiah threw himself into the project of reforming Judah and bringing the nation back to God. Countless decisions had to be made every day to accomplish that mission. There was no rest for the weary, if Josiah was going to complete that project. Several mini projects had to implemented to complete the main one. And yet, with God’s help Josiah succeeded in finishing what he’d started. And so, his epitaph reads, “Before him there was no king like him who turned to the LORD with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his might, according to all the law of Moses; nor did any like him arise after him.” But then, we are startled by God’s response to Josiah’s commitment. “However, the LORD did not turn from the fierceness of His great wrath with which His anger burned against Judah, because of all the provocations with which Manasseh had provoked Him” (2 Kings 23:25-26).
Do you think Josiah would have gone to all that trouble, knowing that throwing himself into the reforms as he did would bring about no lasting affect? I believe so, because “he did right in the sight of the LORD and walked in all the way of his father David, nor did he turn aside to the right or to the left”. You see, Josiah did what he did (every day) not for personal reputation or gain, but for the glory of Yahweh (the LORD God of Israel).
God is worthy of our commitment to the daily tasks that result in our spiritual growth, and the advancement of His Kingdom and King. As we fulfill those tasks, we may see the immediate advantage to ourselves and others. But ultimately, it is God who more than deserves our sacrifices and fulfilled commitments to His cause.
Jesus is the prime example. He threw Himself into the service of His Father; Jesus was totally and daily committed to God. When Jesus was driven into the wilderness to tempted by the Devil, Jesus resisted the temptation to take the wrong path by saying and doing what needed to be done (cf. Matt 4). What immediate personal benefit did He receive? Extreme hunger and weakness. Throughout His life our Lord rarely gained an immediate advantage from His daily commitments. But at the end of His life on earth, He could pray, “I glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do” (John 17:4). We see that Jesus threw Himself into the work that needed to be done, because God is worthy of our glory!
Remember the men who promised to follow the Lord wherever He went, but had not considered the (daily) sacrifice necessary to do so? Jesus reminded them that commitments promised – yet unfulfilled – rendered the promise maker unfit for the Kingdom of God (cf. Luke 9:57-62). By all means, “just getting started is half the job”, but to finish the job will require you to “throw yourself into it”. May Josiah’s epitaph be ours one day, to the glory of God. – By Boyd Jennings