Finishing is better than starting. Patience is better than pride.” Ecclesiastes 7:8
And I thought I was just going out to eat! Just a couple of weeks ago, a couple of good friends invited my wife Judy and I to go out and eat. It sounded like a special gig. A restaurant located in a small town, oh, about 15 miles from our small town, had invited a renowned chef to come in and cook that evening. My friend had received an invitation right from the owner’s lips to come and experience it and he invited us. Now I am not much of a gourmet nor is gourmet food my deal. To ring my bell, all you need to do is serve up some meat and mashed potatoes and another starch or two and I’m in. Even so, it was chance to spend some time with these good friends…so we made a date.
They said they would make some reservations which for Southern Illinois is kinda unusual. All we SI people do is show up and eat. But I can be partial to reservations…especially if it keeps me from waiting. So, with the idea this was a special thing for a small group of special people and with the safeguard of reservations, I was looking forward to our Friday night gig. Oh, and a bonus was the fact this was Friday night of Valentine’s weekend and Judy said this could count as “date night.” Sweet. Can’t fail. In the bag. And then…the school bell rang.
As we drove from our small town to the other small town, the car was filled with chatty talk. Nice and easy…just the way I like it. As we approached the restaurant, I noticed there were quite a few cars but that wasn’t totally unusual. It was when we got to the door that usual went out the window. The small foyer, the area around the check-in stand and the restaurant was packed to the gills. At that brief moment, my countenance may have sagged just a little. But since we had reservations…it was no deal. And then the school bell rang.
One of my friends checked us in and came back with the news—forty-five minutes to an hour. Wait. What? I said, “But don’t we have reservations?” Well, no. It turns out only parties of eight can get those cherished promises of a quicker sit-down. So, that is how God enrolled me, once again, into the school of patience. So, there I sat in the small foyer with what seemed like a thousand other people. Some were there to enjoy the gourmet chef, and some were there for a fish dinner. It didn’t matter. I was in the school of patience. My Dearest Daddy knew I had some learning to do in the patience department and He had enrolled me.
Well, our time in class turned into about two and half hours and when we finally ate almost all of the gourmet food was gone and I had a hamburger…which by the way was just fine with me. At the end of the evening, an unseen hand handed me my test. There at the top of the page was a well-earned, unqualified, no doubt about it—F. Yup I had failed again. And the bad news is, this is required curriculum…which meant there would be other classes…other opportunities…for me to learn and get tested. Rats. I should have studied more. I should have prepared more. I should have done something or anything, but I didn’t. Class dismissed. See you next time, pal.
Now with all that said, it was a good evening. I still got to be with my wife and friends. I did occasionally smile and engage in conversation. Oh, and the burger was really pretty good and, wait for it, my friend paid the tab. I think he did it out of sympathy and compassion. Regardless, it was kind. So, when we got home, I sat down and relaxed, confessed my failing grade to my Father and vowed to do better. We will see. We will see. This is one area that this Jesus journeyman is a little slow to learn and God ain’t gonna let it go. Solomon, one of the smart guys from the Old Testament Bible said, “Finishing is better than starting. Patience is better than pride.” Boy, he hit that one on the head. Looking back, I should have remembered, I should have believed that thing that I write every time I write, “He’s got this,” because…He does. Bro. Dewayne