Perseverance


Trusted ministry leaders understand the importance of never giving up.

 

by Dan Busby


 

Ever get tired and want to quit? I certainly have. And, there are certain times in life when we should quit. When we discern what we are doing is not in accordance with God’s plan, we should quit. If we are headed in the wrong direction, we should quit traveling that way.

Most of the important
things in the world
have been accomplished
by people who have
kept on trying
when there seemed
to be no hope at all.
Dale Carnegie

Galatians 6:9 guides us when we are tired and considering quitting: “So let’s not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don’t give up, or quit.”

Quitting is not a word in the vocabulary of ministries when we are doing God’s will. If pioneer missionary William Carey had turned back, no one would have blamed him, but no one would have remembered him either. The margin between success and failure is often determined by our decision not to quit.

John Piper observes, “Almost every one of you can think of something you were enthusiastic about recently, but now the joy is faded. Your first day of vacation on the coast the sunset was breathtaking and made you so happy you could sing. But by the end of your stay you hardly noticed it any more. Vacationers get tired of sunsets, millionaires get tired of money, kids get tired of toys, and Christians get tired of doing good.”[1]

But this is no time to even consider losing heart. The Apostle Paul says there will be a payday someday (Gal. 6:9). And the charge to keep on keeping on is motivated by the prospect of future reward. “Do all the good you can, in all the ways you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.”[2] In short, don’t lose heart in spending yourself through love.

Vacationers get
tired of sunsets,
millionaires get
tired of money,
kids get tired of toys,
and Christians get
tired of doing good.
John Piper

The prophet Isaiah said it well: “But those who wait upon God get fresh strength. They spread their wings and soar like eagles, They run and don’t get tired, they walk and don’t lag behind” (Isa. 40:31).

Paul recognizes the direct correlation between persistence and motivation as he urges his readers not to “get fatigued doing good” (Gal. 6:9). John Stott observes that “active Christian service is tiring, exacting work.”[3]

The apostle gives us this incentive: He tells us that doing good is like sowing seed. If we persevere in sowing, then “in due season we shall reap, if we do not lose heart” (Gal. 6:9–10).

If you feel like you’re in a pit, relax. You’re not the first person to find yourself looking up from within what feels like a deep, dark hole. In the Old Testament, Joseph found himself in his own pit—literally! For Joseph, that pit looked like a dark dead end, but it was truly a pathway to the palace—a direct route, at that.[4]

If the farmer tires of sowing and leaves half his field unsown, he will reap only half a crop. It is the same with good deeds.

If we want a harvest, then we must finish the sowing and be patient, like farmers “waiting for their valuable crops to mature, patiently letting the rain do its slow but sure work. Be patient like that” (James 5:7).

When will we reap? The harvest will come in due time, the season appointed by God. Fruit is reaped in a season that follows the sowing, but it is ultimately the time of God’s appointment.

As Hitler was mounting his attack against England during World War II, Winston Churchill was asked to speak to a group of discouraged Londoners. He uttered an eight-word encouragement: “Never give in! Never, never, never give in!”[5]

My hero is someone who never gave in—the Apostle Paul. In Acts 20, we see that nothing moves him. Paul kept doing what he was doing and finished the work Jesus gave him. And nothing stopped him.

Paul is my hero when it comes to doing well in spite of fatigue. In 2 Corinthians 4 (KJV), he says, “Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not.” Never get tired, he says. “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed. We are perplexed, but not in despair. Persecuted but not forsaken. Cast down, but not destroyed.”

In Acts 27, Paul was on a ship tossed in a raging storm. Everybody wanted to jump off the boat, but an angel of God stood by Paul’s side and told him “don’t give up” (v. 23).

There will be times when we will become discouraged in our service for the Master, but trusted ministries never, never, never quit—until they complete God’s call.

In Ecclesiastes 11:6 we read: “Go to work in the morning and stick to it until evening without watching the clock.” Some days, that takes real perseverance.

The law of sowing and reaping will never be repealed.

 

  Questions   for reflection
 
  1. Are you serving with vigor despite challenges in ministry?
  2. What are some of the issues that tend to make you “weary in well doing”?
  3. What steps can you take to boldly address these challenges?

 

 

[1] John Piper, “Do Not Grow Weary in Well-Doing.” Sermon dated August 21, 1983. DesiringGod: http://www.desiringgod.org/sermons/ do-not-grow-weary-in-well-doing.

[2] John Wesley, “Sermon 50 – The Use of Money.” Wesley Center Online: http://wesley.nnu.edu/john-wesley/the-sermons-of-john-wesley-1872-edition/sermon-50-the-use-of-money/.

[3] John R. W. Stott, The Message of Galatians (Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1986), 171.

[4] Danette Joy Crawford, Don’t Quit in the Pit (New Kensington, Pa.: Whitaker House, 2010), 232.

[5] Winston Churchill, “Never Give In.” Speech at Harrow School, London England, October 29, 1941. The Churchill Centre: http://www.winstonchurchill.org/learn/speeches/speeches-of-winston-churchill/103-never-give-in.

 

From TRUST: The Firm Foundation for Kingdom Fruitfulness, ECFAPress, 2015, www.ECFA.org/KnowledgeCenter


This text is provided with the understanding that ECFA is not rendering legal, accounting, or other professional advice or service. Professional advice on specific issues should be sought from an accountant, lawyer, or other professional.

Navigation


Follow @ecfa