The end of a matter is better than its beginning.
If you want to become a master chef, the first lesson you must learn is how to stand on a chair and turn off the smoke alarm. If you want to master the violin, you must imagine the sound of a cat being swung by its tail and do your best to imitate it.
Beginnings aren’t impressive. When Abraham Lincoln was old enough to write his name, he wasn’t being hounded for his autograph, and there was no sign near Sinking Springs Farm proclaiming:
WELCOME TO HARDIN COUNTY, KENTUCKY
BIRTHPLACE OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN
Autographs 5 cents
On August 13, 2010, Scottie Pippen was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame. But who would’ve guessed it from his unpromising beginning?
Scottie’s family of eleven brothers and sisters was dogged by poverty. He played basketball, but just for fun. It wasn’t until he yearned for a job as a factory manager that he got serious about basketball – because a scholarship was the only way he could afford a college education.
But Scottie couldn’t land a scholarship. His high school coach finally found him a chance to play for the University of Central Arkansas on a work-study arrangement. He worked summers as a welder to pay for school, and he worked as the team manager in order to play ball.
Not a great start, but if he wasn’t willing to begin by passing out towels in the locker room, he never would have ended in the Hall of Fame with multi-million dollar contracts.
When the Gospel message reached the seaport city of Corinth, in southern Greece, the newborn believers began by doing what all newborns do: crying, drinking milk and soiling their diapers. But that’s a good thing, because life has begun.
When Paul writes to these young believers, he’s a little distressed because they should be past the thumb-sucking stage, but he is so excited about what God has begun in this bawdy sailor-town. Paul could write to them, “. . . you have such a place in our hearts that we would live or die with you. I have great confidence in you. I take great pride in you.”
Saint Francis of Assisi said, “Start by doing what is necessary. Then do what’s possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible.”
The point, however, is to start. . . even if it only means taking the battery out of the smoke alarm.
(copyright 2012 by Marty Kaarre)