“God has other work for you, and it waits only the completion of the present task” (Frances J. Roberts).
UNFINISHED BUSINESS IS A MAJOR PROBLEM IN THE LIVES OF MOST OF US. We postpone important decisions, we procrastinate the finishing of projects, and we leave too many problems unresolved in our relationships. And by neglecting the goal of “completeness” in our lives, we diminish those lives — and we hurt other people too. As Francis de Sales remarked, “Satan is quite content for us to make any number of beginnings as long as we never complete anything.”
I want to suggest a different line of thought, however. Of all the things we should want to complete, the most important should be the growth of our personal character. But I fear this is not a high priority with many people. Early in life, we may have worked on some of the virtues we knew we needed to acquire, but we may have stopped working on these things while the work was still woefully incomplete. So in regard to personal character growth, “finish what you started” is good advice. In biblical terms, we need to “go on to maturity.”
Not only can we work on completing our own character, but we can also help others be more complete in theirs. Since each person is responsible for his own character, we can’t do this work for anyone else (although we sometimes wish we could). But we can at least be a helpful influence by encouraging, inspiring, and uplifting those around us. We can help others take the next step in their journey toward maturity — and doing that is one of life’s highest privileges.
But let’s return to the question of our own character. When was the last time you seriously asked yourself this question: what am I still lacking? Depending on your age, you may have reached a point long ago where you ceased to be actively concerned about your personal incompleteness. You may have become complacent about your faults and apathetic about your growth. If so, you need to get back to work.
It is dangerous to neglect any unfinished business, but if the unfinished business is our character, that’s the most dangerous deficiency of all. So how high are your character goals? And what are you still lacking?
“Be a life long or short, its completeness depends on what it was lived for” (David Starr Jordan).