Have you ever thought about the number of new beginnings you’ve made in your life so far? Your birth was the first but now start counting ... new words, new school, new friends, new job, new home, new targets, new horizons and you haven’t finished yet! Each day is a new opportunity for a new start. There are those in life who relish the change that comes with a new beginning, others who prefer the safety of the familiar and some who avoid change at all costs. We are all so different. What about your approach to life? Are you an architect, starter, builder, project manager or a completer-finisher? These arbitrary terms provide lots of scope for cross-overs but it’s interesting for personal reflection as to how you interact with the world around you. Imagine God the Beginner of things with a blank canvas and then KABOOM ... it’s the Genesis of all known things.
- ‘Before beginning, plan carefully’ – Marcus Tullius Cicero
- ‘The beginnings and endings of all human undertakings are untidy’ – John Galsworthy
- ‘The beginning is the most important part of the work’ – Plato
- ‘Life is not so much about beginnings and endings as it is about going on and on and on. It is about muddling through the middle’ – Anna Quindlen
Engineers know that they are a ‘special breed’! Good ones will probably have deconstructed their toys as children, their computers as teens and their cars as adults ... before reconstructing them, with varying degrees of success. They are curious, logical, analytical, creative, courageous and have a keen attention to detail. The world would be a poorer place without them. One of the most famous engineers, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, played a key role in Britain's industrial revolution, designing and constructing railway lines, bridges, tunnels and docks around the country, as well as providing massive advances in naval architecture. Born in Portsmouth in 1806, he was named ‘Isambard’ after his father, the French civil engineer Sir Marc Isambard Brunel, and ‘Kingdom’ after his English mother, Sophia Kingdom. Not every project he began was successful – two notable failures were the original propeller design for the SS Great Britain (shedding blades in rough seas) and the atmospherically propelled South Devon Railway.
Not all our beginnings end in success either but that should not stop us making new beginnings. The Quebec Bridge collapsed twice in Canada. When the bridge collapsed in 1907, 55 of those who were working on the Cantilever arm were reported dead, either because of the falling debris or due to drowning. Another 33 workers were killed when it collapsed the second time in 1916. Work was recommenced and the Quebec Bridge was completed in 1929. It is still the largest Cantilever bridge in the world and was designated a National Historic Site in 1995.
- ‘It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live’ – Marcus Aurelius
- ‘Begin at the beginning and go on till you come to the end; then stop’ – Lewis Carroll
- ‘Every day I feel is a blessing from God. And I consider it a new beginning. Yeah, everything is beautiful’ – Prince
- ‘We come to beginnings only at the end’ – William Throsby Bridges
- ‘Forgiveness says you are given another chance to make a new beginning’ – Desmond Tutu
God the Son who holds all things together made a defining call from the cross: ‘Tetelestai’! Literally translated this Greek word means, “It is finished.” This declaration was that Jesus’ saving work for all your new beginnings was complete. New life begins in Christ with grateful acceptance of this truth. Jesus is both the Beginner and the Completer. Moreover, Jesus Christ blesses us in sending God the Spirit who initiates new life, empowers, protects, guides, comforts, teaches and sustains all God’s children.
- ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind ‘ – John 1:1-4
- ‘For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy’ – Colossians 1:16-18
- ‘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’ – Ecclesiastes 3:11
- ‘I am God, and there is none like me. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say, ‘My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please’ – Isaiah 46:9-10
All new beginnings find their genesis in God and his purposes stand firm. We should neither endlessly seek new beginnings, for that indicates an unsatisfied life, nor run away from a new beginning that God may be giving us, for that speaks of fear. Once we have begun our spiritual new life in God, our thirst is quenched with no need for other spiritual beginnings – you begin eternal life once. That is not to say we will not need personal revival and fresh starts that come from confession of sin, for these are also gifts to the child of God.
- ‘He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children”’ – Revelation 21:5-7
- ‘He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Saviour, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel’ – 2 Timothy 1:9-10
- ‘And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. 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”’ – Luke 14:27-30
- ‘I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh? Have you experienced so much in vain—if it really was in vain?’ – Galatians 3:2-4
The Apostle Paul urges us to press on once we have made that new beginning with God. We are to learn from failure but refuse to let ourselves be defined by it. We are defined by our life in Christ as children of God, who ‘will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body’ (Philippians 3:21). If the precious Book of Life has your name in it then all your needs are truly met in the source of all goodness, the Beginner and the Completer of all things.
- ‘The Lord will write in the register of the peoples: “This one was born in Zion.” As they make music they will sing, “All my fountains are in you”’ – Psalm 87:6-7
As Jeremiah reminds us, we can have hope every day because God’s supplies of love, compassion and faithfulness never fail, they are new every morning.
TAGS- transformation, satisfaction, purpose, heaven, judgement, eternity, endings