Starting something new can be exhilarating. I love ordering books for a new semester of classes, I love thinking of intriguing paper topics, and I love purchasing new notebooks. Almost everything about a new semester excites me. After a couple of months, however, the excitement usually fades away into feelings of laziness and apathy. I don’t love those feelings quite as much as the first.
Today marks the start of a new semester of school. While many of us are eagerly anticipating the beginning of classes, we know that the excitement likely won’t last, that reading can become mundane and papers can start to seem like chores. This isn’t necessarily what we want to happen, but it seems inevitable in almost any stage of schooling (and with many things, come to think of it). And, usually, with the loss of excitement comes a loss of motivation.
I wonder if this is what prompted Paul to write the following words to the Corinthian church:
And in this matter I give my judgment: this benefits you, who a year ago started not only to do this work but also to desire to do it. So now finish doing it as well, so that your readiness in desiring it may be matched by your completing it out of what you have.
2 Corinthians 8:10-11
As Paul gathered gifts for brothers and sisters in need, he reached out to the Corinthians to help. He noted that they had already begun to do the work (whether he meant this work specifically or the work of the kingdom in general, I’m unsure at the moment), and he called them to continue on till the work was done. Enthusiastic beginnings are great, but they must be coupled with diligent completions. The one who begins the race strives to finish it well.
I recognize that I need work in this area. I have a number of unfinished books lying around my room that can each testify to my lack of motivation. So as I’m preparing for classes, I’m praying that God would help me to be diligent. I pray that I would be motivated to press on when the thrill of this week fades. And I pray that in all things, God would be glorified by how I work, for I remember that I’m ultimately working as unto him.