Just to review, Solomon has given us four “better than” statements in the first six verses of Ecclesiastes chapter seven. He said that a good name is better than great riches. He said it’s better to go to a funeral than to go to a party. 11 small2He said sorrow is better than laughter. And then he said that it is better for a man to hear the rebuke of the wise than to hear the song of fools. The fifth “better than” statement is found in Ecclesiastes 7:8. Solomon said, “Better is the end of a thing than its beginning.” Many commentators see this verse as another pessimistic declaration from a bitter, disillusioned old man. I think he is making a positive observation about life in general.

Things don’t always start out the way we’d like them to. Also, there are often many setbacks along the way. When Solomon talks about the end of something, he’s not referring to simply the end of a particular event or even a period of time. He’s talking about its result or the end product. Let me quote Ryken again, “Many things that do not seem all that promising at the beginning turn out well in the end. This is always true of anything that has the blessing of God.” He then quotes Romans 8:28, “We know that for those who love God all things work together for good.” This was especially true for the building of the second temple in Israel after the return from the Babylonian captivity. Those who remembered Solomon’s magnificent temple were disappointed in the one being rebuilt. The Lord gently rebuked and encouraged them. In Zechariah 4:10 He said, “Do not despise this small beginning, for the eyes of the Lord rejoice to see the work begin.”

God loves to see good works, no matter how small, begin. Those founded on Godly principles nearly always receive God’s blessing. I have a good friend who moved to Nebraska to start an organization called AIM. It stands for Applied Information Management. Many of you will know who I’m talking about. Back in 92, (1992 not 1892!) he was the only employee of the organization. I spent many hours with this friend, and although I never fully understood what AIM did, I got to know him. Everything he did he did from a solid ethical, moral, and yes, even biblical perspective. His character and conduct provided a solid godly foundation upon which that organization was built. I just talked to one of the VPs at AIM. It produces over 8 million dollars of revenue every year, and employs over 75 people. From this small beginning AIM has expanded into other states as well. My point is when things are done God’s way don’t let small beginnings or temporary setbacks discourage you. I could use my church as an example as well. The vision and prayers of just a handful of people over 40 years ago have blessed us with a congregation of over 700 people who touch the lives of others in our community in too many ways to mention. I think this is what Solomon meant when he said “better is the end of thing than its beginning.”