The Encouragement of Accomplishment
One of our fine pastors was telling me about when he was younger, he and his wife were building their first home. And when I say they were building, it was true that they were doing a lot of the work themselves in order to keep costs down and to get into the home. In the process of building, his father-in-law was helping them to build putting the siding on the house. The siding on the house was mainly a tongue and groove, and this young man was working hard to get it done just right. After he had been working for just a short time on a couple of tongue and groove boards he was certainly aware of what a trial this was and after just a few boards he was tired and about at the end of his rope. His father-in-law was watching him as he was working hard getting the knack of putting these boards in place. The son-in-law expressed his exhaustion and wanted to return his frustration at how much more he had to do. His father-in-law said to him, “Don’t look at how much more you have left to do, look at what you’ve already accomplished.” The pastor told me that that truth has stuck with him all of his life and that he has passed it on to his children. Don’t look at how much you have left to do, look at what you have accomplished. What an amazing moment in his life and how true it is that accomplishment can be a great encouragement.
Now, understand, I’m not talking about just sitting and staring at what you’ve done and leaning on your achievements and your past accomplishments. No, we press on, encouraged and lifted by the fact that we have accomplished something. I think about David when out there on the battlefield he took on the giant Goliath. Saul and the other troops that were out there questioned whether he could win such a victory, but David pointed out to them the wonderful accomplishments in his life. While he was keeping his sheep, a bear came and was going to destroy his sheep and scatter them, but God delivered the bear into his hands. And then he told of a lion that came and how God delivered the lion into his hands and saved his sheep. Then he proclaimed, “The Lord that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine” (1 Sam. 17:37).
You can almost hear David saying, “Accomplishment is a great encouragement.” It was a lesson that Israel could have done well to remember but apparently forgot. Not long after they came across the Red Sea out there on the desert floor moving slowly toward the gift of the Promised Land, they were hungry and the people began to complain that Moses had brought them out there for them to die in the wilderness. With so much further to go and so much to accomplish, they failed to look back and see what they had already done. Nine plagues had come upon Egypt in their behalf and then the tenth plague, passing of the death angel, and God was doing amazing things. Then when Pharaoh told them to go, there they were stuck at the edge of the Red Sea and God opened the waters and they walked across on dry ground. Ten plagues and an enormous miracle and they were discouraged. The problem was they were looking in the wrong direction and they were staring at what they needed to accomplish, what needed to be done, instead of looking back at all that God had done for them. And they were yet to learn the lesson that accomplishment is a great encouragement.
Maybe life is weighing in on you and it’s hard to see how in the world you’re ever going to get past all the difficulties or the health issues or the debt or struggles with raising your children and you’re about ready to throw up your hands and quit because there obviously is a lot left to do. Well, just stop right now and look back at what God has done in your life already. Look at what He has accomplished. Look at what you have accomplished and allow accomplishments to be a great encouragement.
When Jesus came to the end of His life in the closing hours of His life, He met with the Father and prayed. John 17 is His High Priestly Prayer and it is not long until the agony of the cross will be upon His back and His heart. But in that prayer, Jesus found this wonderful truth alive and vibrating in His own heart. For in His prayer, He looked at the disciples that He had called and trained and He saw the significance of the transformation of their lives and He prays about them. He talks to the Father about all that He had been through, the challenges that He had faced, the opportunities to serve a glory that had been revealed in Him and He got up from the prayer ready to face the challenges of the cross because accomplishment is a great encouragement.
It is true that none of us have all that we need with us to accomplish what God may have before us, but it is also true that regardless of who you are as you walk with the Lord there are accomplishments that you just ought to stop and look at because when we see what God has done in you, we are amazed at who you have become and what you have done. So you stop and look at it also. Allow God to stir your heart and remind you that your accomplishments are a source of great encouragement even to yourself. So face the future with an eye on the wonder of what God has already enabled you to do and knowing without a doubt that He will not leave you nor forsake you and what is ahead will become even greater accomplishments.
The author can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.