Brian is an aspiring writer that seeks to inform and educate the public through informative and educational pieces from various categories.
Referring to a scripture in the Bible - Ecclesiastes 7:8, there is an insightful statement from King David’s beloved son, Solomon. Solomon, also known as the man of wisdom, was quoted as saying, "The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride.” Navigating life requires one to have mature attention to values. In reality, there are some courses of action that yield favorable outcomes compared to others. Some attitudes we portray may lead us towards a better direction in life and the emotions we project may influence the things we attract into our life.
The keyword in this context is the word ‘Better’. As a Christian, I believe that the ultimate outcome of this mortal journey is the end, whereby we reunite with our Maker after fulfilling our purpose on earth.
Oftentimes, we may find that we land ourselves in sticky situations and some of you may even think that God has abandoned you when you are going through an unfortunate event in life. We tend to focus on the negatives that naturally inhibit our ability to see the good that may result from anything that is happening at that very moment. Indeed, some of us may not have a good beginning in life, hence it may be too much to put in a fight. Instead, it would seem easier to just throw in the towel and decide that your efforts are futile. You may be tempted to believe that your efforts are a waste of time and it will never amount to anything. In the extreme, you may even think that you have lost your mind and don’t even know the reason you started pursuing the venture you believe with fiery conviction in the first place.
Ecclesiastes 3:11 says, “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart, yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” To be frank, we are very limited in our understanding of what God is doing in our lives. We are not able to decipher or predict the end by judging its beginning.
But be rest assured that there is one who knows the end and has the final outcome already slated in His books. He is the One who declares the end from the beginning in Isaiah 46:10 and 48:3, 5. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end in Revelation 1:8 and 22:13. Are we willing to defer all judgment to Him and let Him have the final word?
Perhaps you may have had a rough start and bothered by your humble beginnings. Just keep in mind that albeit with the small start in life, you do not necessarily will have a rough finish. Always remember that better things will come at the end. Do not keep dwelling on the negatives of the past.
The Holy Spirit through the prophet Zechariah gives us much-needed counsel in Zechariah 4:10. We are not to despise the day of small beginnings. We are not to despise ‘the small’ aspects in our lives, be it our house, car, or even business, for instance.
The same also applies to your service to the Lord. The small outreach team, the small response from the lost in evangelism, the small Bible study group, the small contribution in preparing a meal for the sick, the small tithes and offerings even. It does not matter if you start small in these areas. You may even experience small investment in your family for the future, the small response from your teenage child in bonding with you, or perhaps limited opportunities in being able to be around the body of Christ because you are busy in God’s calling for you as a wife, mother, or even a daughter. The Spirit is saying, “Don’t hold the small things in contempt. Don’t consider them as insignificant in your life.” You need not carry a lack of respect in your heart toward the small. The small is never insignificant if God is in it.
The end is always better for the people in God’s kingdom because the Lord is very much interested in the process. God’s thinking is never that the end justifies the means, but rather, the end explains if you are living a life of faith if you are trusting in Christ in your daily life. if you are living in intimacy with Him and beholding Him in His Word, the end will explain how you lived your life.
The Lord is saying to us, in Ecclesiastes 7:8, that we are in need of patience in the process. We see this same principle in Romans 5:3 that tribulation is to work patience into our lives. It is no less than the fructifying work of the Spirit in our lives as illustrated in Galatians 5:22, which states that God is very much interested in. Hebrews 10:35-36 admonishes us not to cast away our confidence but to plug patience into the equation as we wait to receive the fulfilment of God’s promises towards us. We can never measure the value of getting to know the character and nature of God in our service and our affliction.
In whatever situation, God is saying that something better is coming. You may be going through a rough spot today, but with a little patience and faith in God, better things will surely ensue. Do not cancel out the better by dwelling on the regrets, the failures, and things that did not work out. If your mind is always on yesterday, your state of existence will constantly move in that direction. You are not defined by your past. In fact, you are prepared by your past that moulded you to be the person that can handle your future. If the past had not happened, you would not be prepared for the better that is coming your way. You may have made some mistakes but living with guilt is not going to make anything better. It is time to drop it. You will not only feel the weight lifted off, but you will also be able to step into better things God has in store for you.
So, in this section of Ecclesiastes, Solomon is teaching us patience. His approach is to get us to think about the end which is better than the beginning. He wants us to remember that at the beginning of any crisis, trial, or time of adversity, there is a tendency to be absorbed in those first moments of shock and to be overwhelmed and impatient. Solomon points us to the end, the conclusion. For instance, you may feel scared prior to surgery, but instead of entering the operation theatre in fear, focus on the anticipated end and think of a good outcome. Entering into a meeting with people where tension and conflicts are expected, think of the desired outcome of peace or resolution. Finding yourself at the beginning of a powerful temptation, put your eye on the victory of resisting and being refreshed by your courage. Do not let that common desire for immediate gratification foster hopeless impatience. Wait for the satisfaction at the end as being patient in spirit instead of being proud in spirit.
Do not be quick in your spirit to become angry, for anger lodges in the bosom of fools. Once again, it is that quick impulse and desire for immediate gratification that gets us into trouble. In a world where we can almost have anything instantly, we cannot be warned enough about impatience and anger. In a fast-paced world in which technology has consumed a large part of our life, for instance, most expository file readers know the experience of getting upset, because your computer took 15 extra seconds to boot; or the Internet was down for a mere few minutes.
We have been conditioned to expect everything to happen almost instantly and that cultural technological expectation can lead to rather immature frustration. Learning to calm down and wait is better. Patience and self-control contribute to good health and good relationships with people. Most importantly, this state of heart and mind will cultivate a life that is pleasing to God.
Beware of anger that lodges or finds a home within you. Evict bitterness and instead of saying, “Why were the former days better than now? Why am I going through this?” The reason being is that it is not from wisdom that you ask this. Solomon is not teaching against the knowledge of history, nostalgia, or speaking of the past. He is addressing the spirit or attitude that complains – claiming that if we could go back to a former time, everything would be better. First, such talk is futile since it longs for the impossible. We cannot go back in time to change history, thus instead of harping on the past, it would be wiser to plan for a better future. It is better to face the reality of the present, gather up your courage and experience and apply your best wisdom to today’s efforts for a better tomorrow.
The Bible does not commonly assess the present in terms of the past, but much more typically does so in terms of the future, with all its potential for change. Those who insist on looking back to the past often impose burdens on those who live in the present, from which they cannot escape. In order to set the present in the context of the future, it entails setting a path before someone that will allow the past to be left behind, and the person is able to embrace new things and change in hopes for something better. As dictated earlier, the end is better for God’s people because the Lord is very much interested in the process. God’s thinking is never that the end justifies the means, but rather, as Oswald Chambers points out, “The end explains.” If you are living a life of faith and trust in Christ on a daily basis, having an intimate relationship with Him, and beholding Him in His Word, the end will explain how you lived your life.
For whom is the end better than the beginning? Isaiah 3:10 says, “… it shall be well with the righteous.” Those who have imputed righteousness, who have believed in Christ by faith, the end of their earthly sojourn will be better, as Heaven awaits all those who put their trust in Christ. But what can we conclude about time? For whom is the end better than the beginning in our journey through life? Is it not for those who have imparted righteousness, who are rightly related to grace, who are walking with the Lord, trusting in Him, and not leaning on their understanding? (Proverbs 3:5-7). Those who have imparted righteousness can confidently declare that the end of the matter, the outcome of their trial, the outcome of living by faith will be better!
Consider Job’s life, which was depicted partly in Job 8:7 says, “Though thy beginning was small, yet thy latter end should greatly increase.” How true this was for God’s servant, Job, for we see in Job 42:1-2 the double portion that Job received at the end of his trial. How true this was for Ruth, as love lifted her out of an incestuous line into the royal line of King David from which Christ came. How true this was for Esther, who was prepared by the Holy Spirit in a place of obscurity for her moment in history. How true this was for the woman with the issue of blood, as Jesus gifted her with divine healing and her faith in Christ opened a new door for her into His peace. How true this will be for you and me, the King’s sons and daughters who are all glorious within!
Live with divine patience in the process and God may even give you insight into the end whereby your situation will definitely be better. Are you concerned about your failures? Through confession and rebound (1 John 1:9), you will get to experience the grace of God towards you for a better tomorrow and brighter future. The end of chastisement is better when it results in fruits of righteousness (Hebrews 12:11). The end of suffering is better as those who suffer with Him will reign with Him in 2 Timothy 2:11-13. Through the mind of Christ, we can form correct judgments regarding all of our life experiences, and His lovingkindness toward us will be better than all we will ever experience (Psalm 63:3). Hear counsel and receive instruction on this matter, and you will be wise in the latter end (Proverbs 19:20).