Picture happily created at Canva!
The other day, I opened the door to our living room closet in the hopes of finding my Sunday school book. The scene that greeted me was nothing short of chaos personified. Within this small cubby under the stairs lie fragments of the myriad projects I have started and abandoned over the past three years. There’s the Christmas present I didn’t finish sitting in a basket I never cleaned out from Christmas Eve service. There’s the scrapbooking paper and stickers I shoved into a corner after I hastily slapped some hearts on a box for my son’s Valentine’s Day party. There’s the sewing box, lying on its side after I ransacked it looking for a piece of thread to re-attach a button. There are a variety of notecards scattered like leaves…the detritus of good intentions. There are also coloring books, colored pencils, puzzle pieces, a sewing machine, playing cards, and two yoga mats silently waiting for unfinished business to be taken up again.
My closet is an exercise in unfinished business.
We are all well-familiar with unfinished business. Isn’t life itself one giant closet full of business left to do? Sometimes, it can feel like God has abandoned the unfinished project that is our life. We feel like God has tucked us away in some celestial cubby-hole, forgotten and relegated to miscellaneous junk.
In those times when we feel most forgotten, we have a tendency to try and find completion on our own. We decide to take matters into our own hands, rather than lying around waiting for God to pick us up again. And so, we set about sewing uneven stitches and cutting pictures to the wrong dimensions. We open our mouths to speak when we should have left well enough alone. We quit a task before thinking it through, or take up a task when it’s really not ours to do. We sit in the seat of judgement when we haven’t been presented all the facts. We blunder and bluster our way to a position, relationship, object we think we want, only to find it’s not what we needed at all.
In short, in our desire to finish on our own, we make an even bigger mess.
In the letter to the Galatians, Paul addresses this tendency of human beings to make an even bigger mess of life by trying to conquer it on our own. The Galatians have become impatient with Paul. Other leaders have come to them preaching a way of life that makes more sense than the Gospel Paul has preached. It’s easier, more concrete. These new teaching focus on the law, which is much more tangible than grace. Chapter 3 finds Paul at his wit’s end. The people have decided to revert to the law, forgetting that it was the law that had them spiritually chained. Paul reminds the Galatians of their freedom in Christ. He advocates patience. If we abandon the journey, then Christ’s sacrifice will have been for nothing. If we abandon the journey, then we are choosing to remain unfinished.
One of my favorite passages in Scripture comes from Philippians 1:6:
In my world of unfinished projects and a life that is ever-changing, it is comforting to know that God is never finished with me. I find hope in the knowledge that God will finish the work he began in me when I first came into this world. I rest securely in the knowledge that I am not abandoned to the cubby of unfinished business; rather, I am a continual work in progress. Until Christ comes again, or I meet him face to face, God is working and finishing that which he started.
The same is true for you, my friend. God has named you and claimed you. You are his beloved child, heir to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you’re going through, whatever business in your life feels unfinished, know that God is still working. Don’t rush the process. Don’t try to finish it yourself. God has an eternal view, and can see so much more than our limited eyes. So have patience. Keep going. And know that the work God begins, he will always complete.
Blessings and Peace,