It Doesn’t Matter How You Begin – What Matters is How You End – Eliezer Gonzalez
Jul 24, 2017 9583
What can you say to drug addicts and ex-convicts, who think they’ve come to the end, to give them hope? I was faced with this dilemma recently when I spoke to a couple of dozen men in a drug rehab centre in Ukraine recently.
These were men that in other circumstances I would perhaps have feared. Not only were they long-term drug addicts, but many of them had been in prison for robberies, assaults, and worse. Some had been involved in criminal gangs such as the mafia. What could someone like me say to them?
I told them that it doesn’t matter how you begin; it matters how you end. Here is the Biblical principle:
The end of a matter is better than its beginning (Ecc. 7:8).
What this is saying is that it doesn’t matter how you begin. What matters is how you end. The Bible is full of examples of how this is true. Joseph starts out being despised and sold into slavery and ends up being the ruler of Egypt. David starts out as a shepherd boy and ends up as a heroic king. Zacchaeus starts out being a crooked tax collector and ends up being a friend of Jesus. Mary Magdalene starts off being a prostitute and ends up being the first witness of the resurrection. Paul starts of being a murderous religious zealot, and ends up being a trail-blazing apostle of Jesus.
I know how it feels to feel hopeless and completely stuck.
We all have some notion of where we’ve begun, but few of us really understand how we will end. I know how it feels to feel hopeless and completely stuck. Without hope in Christ we are all hopeless. God’s endings are always even better than his beginnings:
Although your former state was ordinary, your future will be extraordinary (Job 8:7, CEB; See also Haggai 2:9).
In the three days of the Cross, we have the lowest and highest points of existence. We have the death of the Son of God, the greatest injustice every perpetrated. We also have the defeat of death with the resurrection of our Lord. Friday afternoon gave no hint of the joy that was to come on Sunday morning. And those lows and those highs are reflected, in a way, in our lives as well.
What Christ gives us is hope that the future will be better than your past or your present. More than that, Christ gives you a rock-solid identity. He knows that the hurts you go through in life slowly rob you of who you think you are, and who you want to be. Jesus gives you an identity as his child that nothing in this world can diminish or erode, and that isn’t dependent on your feelings or your failures.
How do you make sure that you end up well? By believing and trusting in what God has promised you, taking hold of him and never letting go, and by allowing him to do what he wants to do with your life. Believe me, it will be someone wonderful!
Are you in a bad place right now? Have you been there for a while? Remember, where you begin doesn’t count, only where you end up. – Eliezer Gonzalez