“It is not your duty to finish the work, but neither are you at liberty to neglect it."1

If the work is worthwhile, the thought that you’ll never see it finished need not keep you from getting started. And if you see the work as something you ought to be doing–as your responsibility–then it doesn’t matter how long it may take. Diligence is the metric that matters.

Maybe it’s raising your children, investing in your community, or contributing to your industry. Even if there’s always something more to do, even if you never see the work finished, that doesn’t mean you’ve wasted your time. Those who come after you and benefit from what you’ve done will be thankful for your contribution.

And even if no one recognizes it, if you view the work as your responsibility–your calling–then it doesn’t matter what others may or may not say. It’s about being faithful to do the work you’ve been given. You may not see it finished, but that’s not always the point.

  1. Rabbi Tarfon, https://www.sefaria.org/Pirkei_Avot.2.16 ↩︎