“Better is the end of a thing than its beginning and better is the patient spirit than the haughty spirit.”
One of the mantras of our modern era is that the journey is more important than the destination. And, on a level, there is some practical truth that can be found in this statement. We often grow and mature along the way as we journey toward the end goals. And, as far as that goes, this too is good. Even so, from a Biblical perspective, it is the end goal that outweighs the journey itself in value. For when the goal is reached and the end has been attained, rest can be had and satisfaction in a completed goal can be enjoyed.
Sadly, many of us never seem to get to find that satisfaction at the end of a journey to achieve an end. For some, retirement at the end of a fruitful career may indeed be just that, though for most of us, that seems a really long way away. When I taught High School, graduation always seemed to be that end that we strove for and the satisfaction that came from seeing young men and women whose lives you had sought to influence and mold, walk across the stage and receive their diplomas. When I installed carpet, the transformation of a living area that came from the new flooring was something to take satisfaction in.
Yet, God, in his great wisdom, has insisted that we need times of rest and reflection more often than once in a year or once in a career. We need such times weekly, and that is one of the purposes of the Sabbath day rest. Sadly, in our society, we are often kept so busy that we do not take Sundays and rest as we ought. And this is a huge shame. We spend so much emphasis and time on continuing the journey that the goal simply becomes the preparation that leads to the beginning of another journey. And Solomon says, this is not good. As he spoke earlier, it is better to be in the house of mourning than in the house of celebration — the same principle applies here — it is better to be in that place of conclusion when you can think soberly and with introspection on the path and the goals that God has brought into your life than it is to be at the beginning of something new when you have potential, but don’t yet know what to expect. The notion is counter-cultural, but is is an important one for us to come to terms with in our lives.