So the wall was completed on the twenty-fifth of Elul, in fifty-two days. – Nehemiah 6:15 (NIV)
It is good advice in baseball, football and basketball. It is key in a golf swing and sought after in valued employees. Follow through; the discipline of finishing what is started. Nehemiah had follow through. Not once did he see any challenge as an excuse to end his run at completing the task God had set before him. In fact, it seems Nehemiah saw them as opportunities for God to reveal Himself to His people and those who would stand in their way.
We seem to have lost our sense of follow through in our post-modern sentiments. Shows are cancelled part way through their season, people quit jobs because they don’t “like” their boss and we change our opinions more often than our clothes. We hop churches, jump fences and switch allegiances. Our steady drift toward the importance of the individual has eroded the emotional strength and mental maturity required to make sacrifices and hard choices. We don’t follow through. I don’t follow through.
I want my children to finish what they start and I want them to finish well, so it is incumbent on me to stick with those things I have committed to with tenacity and toughness. I need to develop the disciplines and determination Nehemiah brought to bear on his work. I need to know what it is I am about and be about it without hesitation. Prayer, time in the Word and time in community will need to be where I live each day with eyes and ears ready to see and hear what the Lord has set before me. I will need to develop a heart and mind intent on following through.
What is it the stops us from see the finish line? Why do we find ourselves making excuses instead of making plans? I will start with the mirror and say that it is easier to stay where I am comfortable. Thank God that He does not leave us alone in our comfort. He chastises us to pursue something more – the abundant life – by speaking conviction and encouragement into our hearts. He brings others into our lives to spur us on. He points us to the story of Nehemiah and shows us the value of follow through. God brings everything we need each day to finish well, but He has left it to us to make choices that get us there or not. I want to get to the finish line at the end of each day.
Lord, help me to follow through in life. Help follow through in work, in play, in relationships and in pursuing You every day. May I finish well in everything I do each day. Give me the discipline and desire to pursue the finish line with passion, integrity and hope. Amen.