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“Once a task is first begun…” – July 17, 2017

“Once a task is first begun…”

By Jo Ann Carpenter


When I was a little girl, like most kids, I would become excited about a new project but quickly lose interest.  My Grandma and my Father had a little saying about completing things that as a child drove me up the wall!  I would mimic them with a sing song voice and finish what I started without even realizing it.

As I became an adult I found myself repeating that saying whenever I thought of giving up or became tired of a task.  Of course, I used it when my children were dallying with a chore or homework.  But more importantly, this saying shaped my work ethic as an adult and became my mantra for life.

The other day I found myself working in the kitchen at Refuge of Hope with a community service worker.  He was cutting the ends off of celery and said, “I would rather do anything else than this job.”  Instantly, my grandmother’s voice was in my head and I told him the story of the little saying she repeated to me all my life.

Once a task is first begun, never leave it till it’s done

Be the labor great or small, do it well or not at all.

The community service worker smiled at me and said, “Maybe this is not such a bad job at all, and if I finish you can serve it tonight at dinner to people who are really hungry.”  I believe he saw this mundane task now as one of meaning and was eager to complete it.

It may not be the most profound quote you have ever heard, and it may be the first time you have ever heard the words.  But what if a catchy phrase like this, or a motivating scripture, or a mantra you use, can encourage someone to keep on going, or to complete the task they started?

What if it could do more? What if generated enough excitement and hope in just one person to begin changing his life?  I believe God uses us in ways we cannot even imagine to help others.  It is not about us, but about God using us to lead others.  It is a wonderful way to honor God to share our lives helping each other.

Thanks, Grandma and Dad!  I love you!