Beginnings and endings, like bookends, become markers we use to measure and frame our lives.
I recently completed a goal which I have worked toward for twelve years. There is a great deal of gratitude that overwhelms you when something so long looked toward becomes a reality. Immediately following the achievement, there is a season of appropriate celebration.
What happens after the streamers fall and the stadiums and auditoriums are empty and quiet? The difficult transition may appear most plainly with professional athletes, who have looked forward their entire life to winning a gold medal, getting a world series ring, or being inducted into the Hall of Fame. By no means is this experience only reserved for athletes; everyone can experience it. Business owners can experience it when they meet their sales figures or sell their business. Students can experience it when they finish their courses and examine their options. Parents can experience it when their children graduate and go off to school. The morning after scaling the highest mountain is the reflection, ‘Now what?’
Hopefully, the next thing that comes is a realization that the reaching of your goal is the start of a whole new adventure. The reality of the world God has made is that every conclusion brings about a new beginning. Preparing for that beginning, and embracing it, is critical to long term fruitfulness.
In Revelation 21:6, God speaks of the end of the world. “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.’ As you read further in that section, you will see that the end really is the beginning. If you know Jesus Christ, at the moment that everything is overthrown, you will find profoundly good news—that God is shepherding our lives to the end. This is what J.R.R. Tolkien coined as Eucatastrophe—a mess that turns out well.
For me, the end of becoming a pastor now means a lifetime of learning to serve others well.
What endings are coming closer for you? Be ready. It is the beginning.