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Sticking with It, Until It’s Finished

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Do you have trouble seeing things through or sticking to a goal? Apparently, most of us do! According to Business Insider, 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail by February. Does that sound like you? Or, how about this— I recently came across a list of the “Seven Unfinished Wonders of the World.” I’ve heard of the Seven Wonders, but never the unfinished! It’s not a very impressive list, but I guess that’s to be expected. I think, however, there are two exceptions, the famous La Sagrada Familia Cathedral in Barcelona, Spain and the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, NYC. The rest of the list is composed of half-inspired projects where the money has run out, people are wrestling for control, or the original “dreamer” has died. Unfinished indeed.
Do you have any unfinished projects? Any New Year’s resolutions that remain unaccomplished or perhaps not even attempted? We all do. No shame in it. It’s no secret that finishing is tough whether it is something personal or professional. External and internal distractions make staying focused a challenge. A task, a goal, or a dream unfinished in our own life can act as a drag on any present or future attempts.
Our staff is reading Dr. Sean Young’s book, “Stick With It” (Harper, 2017). It’s a book based on his research at UCLA and it challenges people to focus on the process of working through things rather than on our internal or external motivations. It’s not about changing who you are, but about changing how you do things and that’s a big difference from most books. We are reading it for two reasons: the first is to make healthy changes in our own lives which benefit others around us and secondly, to explore how we can develop a process in the Church to connect people to Christ in a life-long commitment of discipleship. If people struggle to maintain a consistent commitment to following Jesus, but they want to, how can we help them succeed where they desire most to? What process will help “finish the race set before them?”
But even more importantly, as Christians, with the Word before us, we are also constantly reminding ourselves of the love of God in Christ Jesus. That we are accepted, redeemed, and loved, based not upon what we do or don’t do, but simply based on the work of Christ. There is no need to impress God with our list of finished wonders. From the Cross on Good Friday, Jesus utters, “It is Finished!” the ultimate in commitment. If there ever was a more beautiful example of “completeness” and sticking with it, I don’t know what it is.
At first I thought it was humorously ironic that two of the seven unfinished wonders are churches. But the more I consider it, perhaps it is an apt metaphor for us as followers of Jesus Christ. Our status is that of “saint and sinner,” a not fully realized glory or completeness. It’s a reminder that our sin and the brokenness of the world around us, prevent us at times from finishing what we started out to do, that our life will be incomplete and unfinished until God calls us to Himself or Christ returns. It’s the power of the Gospel which frees us from the shame and guilt of giving up.
It’s the Gospel in the end which turns our focus away from ourselves and our incompleteness and back to Christ and the eternal fullness of life found in him. So, we’re going to stick with it and read the book as a staff and try to help others, but at the end of the day we will find our completeness in Jesus and that, thankfully, is already finished.
Author: Pastor Tom Zucconi