Begin at the End (By Les Kovacs)
Scripture Reading: “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, saying, “This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.” “Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Won’t he first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples. “Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile; it is thrown out. “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.” Luke 14:28-35
Our family loves to travel, but as with most other people in this strange year, we did not take a major vacation this year, and next year is still a question mark on our calendar. But one thing we learned long ago was that the key to an enjoyable trip was to plan well in advance and plan in detail. After many years of traveling for business and for pleasure, we’ve realized that if we don’t make detailed travel plans well in advance, we just may not get where we want to go.
Several months ago, I was reading an interview with the author of the highly acclaimed book, Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Steven Covey. He was asked which of the seven habits was the most important and he said, “Begin with the end in mind.” In other words, he said to make your travel plans with your destination clearly in mind, because if you don’t have the end location in mind, everything you do between here and there will simply be a haphazard hit or miss, and you could end up in places you don’t want be.
It is incredible that we will put so much time and energy into planning a two-week vacation and yet, we so easily overlook planning for those things that are far more important. For example, what do you want to with your life? What can you do to ensure a strong marriage? What plans should you make for your retirement? And how about your ultimate trip beyond this life that will take you to your final and eternal destination? Have you made any plans for that journey?
In my career as a Project Manager there was a saying, “Nobody plans to fail: they just fail to plan.” Nobody arrives at their dream location accidentally. Getting there requires planning and lots of preparation. Obtaining the desire of our heart requires setting the goal and then lining up all the moving parts, such as finances, schedules, priorities, relationships, etc. to point towards the desired goal. Often that will require that you realign and adjust things as you go to keep up with the changing realities of your life. Ask yourself where you want to be at the end of the year. If you don’t know where you want to be, you may end up saying “Yes” to anything that comes your way. But if you begin with the end in mind, your heavenly destination, you will be able to wisely choose involvements that will shape your schedule, your friendships, your commitments and your quality of life.
Despite the challenges of these uncertain times, if you want this time to be a year of great personal enrichment, if you want your marriage and family to grow stronger, if you want to enjoy the present with eternity in clear focus, then make your plans accordingly. Spend your quiet times with the Lord. Dive into His holy, written Word. Listen for the whisper of the Holy Spirit in your ear. Resolve to imitate Jesus in your daily walk. Begin with the end in mind. Praise be to our Lord God Almighty.
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In 2023, each week's blog is a follow-up reflection written by the preceding Sunday’s preacher to dig deeper into the sermon topic and explore engaging discussion questions.