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Great events, we often find,
On little things depend,
And very small beginnings
Have oft a mighty end.
BEGINNINGS ARE OFTEN GOOD, BUT ENDINGS ARE SOMETIMES BETTER. Especially when “small beginnings” turn out to have a “mighty end,” we should be grateful. Finality shouldn’t be something we shy away from. It’s a better idea than many people think.
We need to be people who appreciate the value and importance of finality. Yes, there is an excitement about new undertakings, and no, we don’t want to rest on our past achievements. But let’s not be afraid of the old saying that “all good things must come to an end.” Most good things are begun for the very purpose of reaching some end. If the end is honorable, should we be sad about reaching it?
There is a sense in which finality is a virtue, and both our character and our conduct need to possess that virtue. When our friends think of us, for example, they need to be able to think of finished things, not things begun and hastily abandoned. They need to know that we’re well acquainted with the concept of closure.
Similarly, our agreements and commitments need to have a certain finality about them. No matter how great our potential may be, indecisiveness can diminish, if not destroy, the service that we have the opportunity to render. Our friends need to know what they can expect from us. They need to know that we can be counted on.
Each of our lives is moving toward an ultimate finality — death. Any evaluation or verdict that might be passed upon our work right now would only be an interim report; it’s only when “finality” has been reached that the true tale can be told about any of us. So it’s wonderful if we started out with great advantages, and it’s delightful if we’re enjoying great blessings in the present. But what matters most is whether we follow through and complete the work that is ours to do in the time that’s allotted to us. If the final chapter of our personal history is disappointing, the rest of it will be seriously lacking in value.
“Every advantage in the past is judged in the light of the final issue” (Demosthenes).