“Start as you mean to go on” has often been one of my favourite phrases. I say it to myself when I need motivation for starting something new. I have used it to spur myself on to live with real integrity – it’s no good doing something non-ideal now, in order to reach a situation where I no longer need to do it.
I remember thinking about this idea a lot when I was looking for jobs 9 years ago. (I eventually became a Maths teacher.) I was weighing up the money I could potentially earn, on one hand, and the implications for my time on the other. I wanted to be able to commit time to church and important relationships, things I felt should be a real priority. Was I willing to sacrifice all of those for a short time in order to climb the first few rungs of the career ladder? Ultimately I answered ‘no’, and became a teacher, a job which didn’t come with large pay rewards although it still required huge amounts of time!
What about you? Do you ‘start as you mean to go on’? Are you living now in the way you want to live, or are you hoping to get to that sometime soon, or ‘one day’…?
September brings with it a whole range of new starts. The ‘back to school’ feel will sweep through Stevenage, and not just in the shops with their various deals and special offers. A new year of children who have been at home will start school for the first time. Older kids will move schools, move out and go to college or university etc. Things will change. Will they ‘start as they mean to go on’? Will they live now in the right way, or put it off?
Christians can sometimes think “I will pray more once I’ve met this pressing deadline”, “I will read the Bible in the morning, once the kids reach an age when they sleep through the night”, “Once we’ve finished decorating the house, I’ll have more time to pursue God”. But what about now? If you’re not yet a Christian, maybe you put off asking questions about faith, saying to yourself: “One day I’ll try to work out what I think about God”. Someone said to me recently, “I don’t know what to make of the Christian faith – I’ve just got so many questions.” I wonder, though, if they really want to hear any answers…
Psalm 118 says:
This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
And the writer wasn’t describing an easy day full of peace and sunshine – he was writing in the midst of conflict and struggle. So please don’t wait to start doing things right: don’t wait to prioritise God, to pursue God. Contentment in life –purpose in life – follow on from setting God in his right place in your heart.
So why not make a new start this September, and ‘start as you mean to go on’? We want to help you to do that, so this month we’re running a workshop: Getting the most out of your daily bible reading. Come along – it will be an enjoyable, relaxed session full of practical tips to help you listen to God. We’re also running the Identity Course in October – my favourite thing we do at the church! If you’re a Christian, it’s a great opportunity to get ‘back to basics’ with your faith, and if you’re not yet sure about faith, it’s a chance to puzzle through all your questions in a supportive and informal environment. We’re even starting a new group for teenagers called Dig.
Read on for great tips for what to watch on rightnowmedia.org, a review of our book of the month Steps towards Heaven (available on the church bookstall) and most importantly, details of our weekly services. On Sundays we meet together and hear God speak as we support and encourage one another.
I look forward to chatting with you there!
This month written by Daniel Freyhan, Curate