Do You Have Unfinished Business?

Thought for the Week

Man-hanging-on-a-branchTom and I have been friends for many years, and I love him to a fault. Which is convenient since he regularly confesses his faults. He’s a sincere but weak believer who is sick of his own weaknesses and moral lapses, sick of himself, really. And he has been for as long as I’ve known him. I regularly pray for his progress, however gradual. But I sometimes fear he’s stuck in the rinse-and-repeat pattern of: 1) feel bad about self, 2) announce to the world that you are human feces, 3) gather “you’re not that bad!” responses, 4) bolstered by responses, feel better about self for awhile, 5) repeat cycle.

I understand Tom’s need for approval (although I’m more comfortable in my fur, I too crave petting), so I’m often among his encouragers. But in doing so I fear I may be contributing to the cycle. So in response to one of his “I’m a piece of crap!” announcements in which he expressed the desire for God to finally just end his worthless existence, I took a different tack. Being careful to identify with him (easy to do), I wrote:

“Tom, unfortunately, or rather fortunately, God is not in the escape-provision business. He tends to keep us around until our work on others and on ourselves is done. Ironically, it seems that the people who have “everything to live for” are the ones he calls home. The rest of us have too much unfinished business to complete to take an eternal holiday just yet. As a reminder of this, and of why it must be so, I regularly recite James 1:2-4 to myself:

Consider it all joy, my friends, when you fall into various trials. Remember that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing.

“So press on, Tom. Finish your business, no matter how long it takes. It’s worth it. Infinitely worth it. Love, your equally-unfinished brother,”


About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in For Pastors and Teachers, Quips and Quotes, Religion/Faith and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

37 Responses to Do You Have Unfinished Business?

  1. Great wisdom. And encouragement. Thanks and God bless, Mitch.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks Mitch. Helpful, wise words. I know one or two Toms…

    Liked by 2 people

  3. dougdial says:

    Yes. Absolutely. And AMEN!

    We keep on keeping on because our Keeper NEVER gives up on us!


    Liked by 3 people

  4. Wisdom, and perfectly stated.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Thotaramani says:

    Deep inside you is the wisdom of the words Mitch .✍️

    Liked by 1 person

  6. pkadams says:

    I’m trying to remember that nothing in this works matters solely in and of itself . There are higher purposes . In other words , my van breaking down is inconvenient , but having a working van is not the purpose of my existence . I need to look at the big picture.

    Liked by 6 people

  7. Vera Day says:

    Profound, Mitch, and comforting in a way because of the elder-care task that’s been handed to me so suddenly. I feel overwhelmed, but maybe it’s helping me to persevere and mature.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Thinking about your friend I thought of a prayer that I think would help him if he’d be willing to pray it. Father, God please change my heart and speak to it and give me what I need so I can do what it is that you created me to do. In Jesus name I pray. Amen! Nothing is to hard for the Lord:-
    Like you Mitch, I find myself counting it all joy too as my faith is put to the test. The good news is that God wins every time no matter what we face or go through in this life because he always works it out for our good!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. When people concern themselves with helping others, as you do, they help themselves feel better, too.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. K.L. Hale says:

    Mitch, very wise words! I know many like him. I’ve been there, too. The verse you chose to send is one of my favorites. I see our trials as glasses of water that reflect light. We’re all carrying the light, some of us have larger glasses, more water to hold, and more to reflect. Sometimes I wish I was a little shot glass, with very little water (aka blessings~in the form of pain, progress, or whatever it is), but that’s not the plan God has for he. I accept it. The good, the bad, the hard, the ugly. It’s taken years to get here! I don’t want to rinse and repeat! I want to celebrate it all. I’m unfinished work. What a joy it will be to hear, “It’s finished!” for me! HE already won the victory so I proudly take my messiness and use it to help others along the way. But,….let’s talk about the goodness over the hard stuff more. I appreciate you so much, Mitch. You have no idea! Or I hope you do! 💛

    Liked by 2 people

  11. marthadilo3 says:

    This is awesome 👏. There is the phrase only the good die young and besides being a good billy joel song it seems you have an explanation. It is somehow comforting to think that when I am down on myself God knows and has confidence that I can improve!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Ana Daksina says:

    Gee, by the end of the run I’m on I’ll be wiser than Solomon…

    Liked by 1 person

  13. gpavants says:


    There are days for sure you wonder.

    Thanks brother, Gary

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Carolina Mom says:

    You choose your titles wisely, Mitch. I love this article! I guess we are all Tom.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Nancy Ruegg says:

    “Mature, complete, and lacking in nothing.” Those closing words to James 1:2-4 provide energizing encouragement, don’t they? To think: we can achieve such lofty goals with God’s help! And with those qualities come more: wisdom, contentment, and peace of mind–for starters. And so I pray: Lord, supply the grace and strength I need to finish my business! (And thank you, Mitch, for sharing your wisdom with us.)

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Jon says:

    Mark 11:23 For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.

    Something for Tom, and the rest of us, to be mindful of is that in addition to removing obstacles, our words are just as effective at reinforcing things like, “I’m a piece of crap!” (If we believe it.) Trouble is, even if we only kind of suspect it, oft repeated ideas tend to make for stronger programming.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Andi says:

    What a great response, Mitch. I know I have much unfinished business too! I’ve had moments spent with a “poor me” attitude. I don’t linger there as it conducive to nothing but self-centeredness. There are constant battles in this life. Battles with this world and within ourselves. I greatly appreciate this post. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. As Robert Frost could have said to Tom:

             The grave is peaceful, dark, and deep.
             But you have promises to keep,
             and miles to go before you sleep.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Katherine says:

    Ah, I too used to have a friend like that. I truly loved and respected her as a friend, and I still do, but choose to part ways.

    It was so exhausting, always complaining, always unhappy, and I didn’t know when she would burst out of anger. I don’t want that.

    So, simply put I let her go, and ever since I could have a better relationship with God, with myself and started seeing the good in everything.

    We can’t just delve into a cloud of insecurity and hate and think that that will get us out of that. We have to seek inner love and appreciation instead of asking for attention.

    That’s just my view. Thanks for sharing, Mitch! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

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