"The end of a matter is better than its beginning" Ecc 7:8
Or in non-biblical language, begin with the end in mind.
I heard Aeneas Williams say this a few days ago during his acceptance speech at the NFL Hall of Fame.
It was refreshing to see a man finishing well off the football field. He spoke of how early in his career he reached out to older, wiser mentors and wanted to know what it would take to be a successful man, not just football player. The advice given was simple: invest in your wife and children. They are the most important part of your team.
Now, years down the road he is bearing the fruit of a life that has intentionally invested in his loved ones. His wife and children respect and adore him. He is building a legacy that will far outlast football.
Begin with the end in mind.
Life is a marathon and we would be wise to treat it that way.
How do I want my life to end? My marriage to end? My relationship with my children?
How do I want this day to end? It will be determined largely by how it begins! Habits of bible reading and prayer keep my atttitude and responses throughout the day more Christ like, so when I hit my head on the pillow I'm not bombarded with regrets.
Healthy eating and excercise today will help keep my body strong for tomorrow's challenges.
It was fun and easy to begin our marriage 26 years ago, but Jon and I made tough choices along the way to protect the sacredness of our vows and to decide beforehand that we would stick together, no matter what.
It was wonderful to welcome 3 sweet babies into our family along the way, along with the baby showers and adorable outfits. But reality soon hits all parents: we are responsible to raise and train our children to love God, love others and work character into their lives. And this takes alot of work.
Or should I say it takes saying NO to alot of lesser things like having a perfectly clean and decorated home, and NO to a constantly full schedule with little margin for enjoying one another and Biblical training of children. Those NO's made way for a big YES goal for me: I want to have children that acutally liked coming home to see me.
I have learned the hard way that a stressed out mom trying to fill her cup and life apart from Jesus equals a very unhappy family.
Begin with the end in mind.
Don't stoop to the pressure of having to have everthing appear perfect in your life. It will never be. Mine never is. If I want to finish well, then there will be days of non eventful monotony. Days of not eating what I want or spending as I would like to.
But if I choose to live those days with joy in my heart and an eye to what the future beholds....God's promises fulfilled and a healthy body and bank account to go along with it, then those less then perfect days become purposeful.
So this is why when I see families like the Williams' on TV the other day, or when I experience a little bit of heaven in seeing my own children walking in the success that only God can give, I rejoice!
Thank you, Lord, for teaching me to number my days, that I may present to you a heart of wisdom. And thank you for reminding me that your desire for me is to finish strong, and that without Your power and grace it is not possible.
Help me to begin every day with the end in mind!