“And the elders of the Jews builded, and they prospered through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo. And they builded, and finished it, according to the commandment of the God of Israel, and according to the commandment of Cyrus, and Darius, and Artaxerxes king of Persia.”
There are times in the Scriptures when God doesn’t place a word in the verse, but the word is very obviously there. Two phrases in the verse above and in verse 15 show this truth. In the verse above it says, they “builded, and they prospered,” and it says that they “builded, and finished it.” In verse 15 it says, “And this house was finished…”
These phrases alone are enough to stir the believer to go and do something great for God; however, there is one word that jumps out between the phrases, and that word is “continue.” In other words, they “builded, and they prospered,” they “builded, and finished it.” Continuing between the building and prospering, and building and finishing is the key that kept these people going. Had these people not continued after they started building, they would have never prospered. Had these people not continued after they prospered, they would have never finished. The key to the rebuilding of the temple was that they continued.
Nobody has ever gotten to finish without first building, prospering, and continuing to build again after a little success. Many have quit between prosperity and building again. Continuing must be a part of your character if you are going to do anything great for God. Let me give you a couple of thoughts to help you with continuing.
First, you can’t continue unless you first start. Many people have dreams, but they never start building towards those dreams. Many people want to do something great, but they never take the initiative to start building. Some don’t start because they are afraid of failure, and others don’t start because they are too lazy to build. You will never get to finish unless you first start what God wants you to do.
Second, continuing is the hardest action to perform after prospering. One of the greatest things that keep people from seeing the great and mighty works of God is that they enjoy a little success and then quit after the success. Just because you have enjoyed some success doesn’t mean you should stop. Those whom God used the greatest are those who didn’t let a little success stop them from continuing. Success is enjoyable, but success is history and future at the same time. The success of the present is a result of your history of work, and the success of tomorrow will be a result of you continuing to do what you are supposed to do today.
Third, continuing won’t always be easy. While Ezra continued, he fought battles and slander while he built the temple. One reason many people stop continuing is because they quit when the battles come. The fact that you must continue means that what you are facing difficulties, but difficult is part of continuing. You will never enjoy the finished product of building if you quit or stop continuing what you are supposed to do.
My friend, finishing what you start should be your goal, but you will never get to finish unless you continue. Let me encourage you to continue after success happens, and continue while you are facing battles. Always remember that you must continue before you get to finish.