Beginning or End?

This time of year is full of graduations, retirements, and endings. I have several friends who have posted their retirements from the education field. Lots of the students we have loved for many years are now making the rounds in their graduation robes and are anticipating walking across a stage to grasp a diploma, ending their high school days. A massive number of kids and teachers are looking at last week as the ending of a grade year.

But are they excited about the ending of what has been or the beginning of what is ahead?

Most graduates have been thinking about what’s next for months.  The retirees I know are planning for what’s next in their lifestyles and relationships.  It’s what is ahead that intrigues and excites us.  In fact, when we do NOT think that through or plan on something, it’s detrimental.  Every retiree that isn’t looking forward to something faces the threat of depression.  Every kid that walks a graduation stage but doesn’t have plans, feels the weight of purposelessness.  In many ways, healthy people leave behind the ending so they can fully embrace the new beginning.

Paul talked about that in terms of his own life and the challenge of engaging what was before him.

I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.”

We’re pressing toward a beginning, not an end.  When we focus on the end, we can lose our purpose and joy, but when we focus on what is before us, we quicken our steps, we engage our hearts and minds, and we find what Jesus wanted us to experience:  JOY.

Press on, friends, press on!

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