The Unfinished Shepherd

Holly Culhane discusses how we all are a work-in-progress and how important we must trust in The Carpenter to do His job to refine us.

By Holly Culhane 


He started something good, and I’m gonna believe it.

He started something good, and He’s gonna complete it.

So, I’ll celebrate the truth. His work in me ain’t through.

I’m just unfinished.

I’m just unfinished.

So, I’ll celebrate the truth. His work in me ain’t through.

I’m just unfinished.*


These are the lyrics I heard as I reached the crest of a hill on a beautiful spring morning walk. My view at that moment, combined with Mandisa belting out “Unfinished” from the iPhone strapped around my waist, stopped me in my tracks.

Ahead of me on my left was partially graded land, empty and waiting for the developer to initiate work. Adjacent to that space were asphalted streets and empty lots prepped and ready for trenching, foundations, and framing. Just to my right were future residences in various phases of construction, along with homes that were complete and filled with those preparing for the beginning of what would undoubtedly be another busy week.

Dreams and plans next to works-in-progress. Unfinished next to partially completed.

I’m sure it was the Holy Spirit through Mandisa’s lyrics that took me to this space, but I could not help but think of myself as the partially complete dwellings, those with walls and roof with the Master Builder perfecting the inside of the shell. The completed homes reminded me of dwellings dear ones who have gone before me now occupy – my parents, my mentor, dear friends, three grandbabies, especially when I realized that in some parts of the world those homes would be referred to as mansions.

I am unfinished, a work-in-progress… the house that is evolving, growing, being refined into the finished product.

And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you,

will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.

—Philippians 1:6


I am so grateful that I have a confident hope for the finished product.

Paul did, as well. He, along with Mandisa after her recent homegoing, had a good work within them that God began, and Jesus Christ completed.

You have a good work within you, too, if you are a follower of Jesus.

So, as unfinished under-shepherds who desire to do His will, follow His way, and shepherd well the flock entrusted to our care, let’s rejoice in that confident expectation. No matter what has happened in our lives, no matter what is happening right now in our families, on our teams, in our church, or with the businesses or Boards we are shepherding, we can be encouraged. God is continuing that work in us, every day, until it is finally finished. All we need to do is let the Finish Carpenter do His job to refine us and deepen our trust in Him as He places the baseboards and moldings of our hearts and assures the doorways of our souls are set toward Him.


*Be encouraged to soak in Mandisa’s Unfinished wherever you stream music, and check-out the story behind the song here.


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Presence Point

Presence Point equips leaders to intentionally live into their calling as shepherds in the lives of those they lead, and partners with multipliers to do the same within their sphere of influence.

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