Have you ever started a jigsaw that has a large number of pieces? Did you give up? Or did you manage to do it? Did you do it all on your own?
In the beginning are the first few words of the Bible, in the Old Testament, which we also call the Old Covenant, before Jesus came into the world.
God created the earth, the sky and everything that exists, in just a few days, in several stages. He started on the first day and finished on the sixth day by creating the first man, Adam and the first woman, Eve.
Everything started well, and must also end well.
I want to tell you about two men whose lives we read about in the Bible.
Do you know anything about the adventures of Samson? Like the time he showed he was stronger than a lion, or when he set fire to a field by tying the foxes’ tails together or when he went out to fight with just the jaw-bone of a donkey? (Judges chapters 14, 15).
The name Samson means little sun. The angel of the Lord told his parents that Samson would save Israel – God’s people – from the Philistines (their enemies). Samson was a judge/leader in Israel for 20 years.
When he was a young man, Samson married a young woman who belonged to Israel’s enemy, the Philistines, against the advice of his parents.
He was the sort of man who was always looking for a fight. God had made him very strong, but, in return, he was told never to cut his hair. Unhappily for him, one day, he told his secret to a woman called Delilah, and his enemies managed to throw him into prison. After cutting his hair, they took him to Gaza, a city in their own country.
They chained him up with strong chains, and Samson was made to work hard turning the wheel used to thresh the wheat. But, little by little, his hair grew back and his strength returned.
One day, the Philistines took Samson into the grand temple of Dagon, their false God. Everybody was laughing at him. Three thousand people were there, including all the Philistine princes. Samson asked to stand between the huge pillars that supported the temple, and he pushed against them. His strength had come back and Samson pushed harder against the columns which started to collapse on top of Israel’s enemies, and they were killed.
Indeed, Samson had been a little sun for his parents when he was a small child, but afterwards…
Nevertheless, at the end of his life, he managed to achieve the purpose God had given him.
The beginning was good, as was the end, but in the middle…!?
The word of God says, “Finishing is better than starting. Patience is better than pride.” (Ecclesiastes 7: 8).
And you no doubt know something about Saul of Tarsus. At the start, he was against Jesus. He didn’t believe that Jesus is the Son of God. He did not believe that Jesus died on the cross to take away our sins by his blood. Saul of Tarsus was so much against the Christians that he put them in prison.
Bad start! Then, one day, Jesus met him on the road to Damascus. Amazing! Jesus had risen from the dead! And Jesus was speaking to him, Saul of Tarsus.
His whole life was transformed, turned upside-down. He became know by his Greek name, Paul, and is now with the Lord in his kingdom, in heaven.
And what about you? We pray that you start well and that you finish well…with the Lord.