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Faithful Finisher

Bill and Caleb at the Western Wall of the Temple

Zechariah 1:16 Therefore, this is what the LORD says: “I will return to Jerusalem with mercy, and there my house will be rebuilt.”
It had been a frustrating road. 50,000 Israelites had returned from Babylon to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple. The beginning was glorious. In short order they built the foundation for the structure and rejoiced exuberantly (Ezra 3:11-13). Then the obstacles began. The Samaritans didn’t like the fact that they weren’t allowed to help. The Persians didn’t like the idea at all. They argued, threatened, put up political pressure and managed to hinder the project for 14 years.
The people who began the project started with great enthusiasm but then began to question, “Is God really in this? If God really wanted us to do this, why is there so much opposition? If this is God’s will for us, wouldn’t circumstances work out better than this?”As they questioned, they lost heart. It seemed too difficult so they turned to their own personal affairs and engaged in pursuits that were less ambitious, less challenging and more self-gratifying.
In response, God sent Zechariah to call them back to action. Building the temple was high on God’s priority list. Stopping the project was high on Satan’s priority list. The physical project was the stage on which the spiritual struggle of life played out. Of course there was opposition. Of course there were setbacks. Of course there were intense obstacles to overcome. Anything that is truly worthwhile in life is that way. If I want to live a trivial life, no one will stop me. If I want to spend my days in selfish pursuits that impact nobody, I will experience few, in any, hurdles. If, however, I dream of partnering with God to influence others, achieve worthwhile goals, and frustrate the schemes of evil, I will need to welcome the challenges along the way.
Charles Kingsley said it this way, “Thank God every morning when you get up that you have something to do that day which must be done whether you like it or not. Being required to work and doing so to the best of your ability will breed in you self-control, diligence, contentment, and a hundred other virtues which the idle never know.”
As I read Zechariah 1:16, I was reminded of a list I keep on my computer of achievements that took diligence and focus to finish. I keep this list as a reminder that the most important things in life take time and a commitment to keep coming back to them until they are done.
• Adam Clark is reported to have spent 40 years writing his commentary on the Scriptures.
• Noah Webster labored 36 years forming his dictionary; in fact, he crossed the ocean twice to gather material needed to make the book absolutely accurate.
• Gibbon spent 26 years on his book The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
Jesus, give me the grace to keep coming back to the important tasks of life until they are accomplished.

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