Perseverance

  • Nov. 14, 2014
  • #8490

How can we persevere in life? By making Jesus our vision so that we see life's troubles and their purposes through His eyes.

I’m Joni Eareckson Tada with a good hymn to sing when you need a right perspective.

Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart
Naught be all else to me, safe that thou art
Thou my best thought, by day or by night
Waking or sleeping Thy presence my light.*

I sure do love to sing that – Be Thou My vision. I often sing it when I’m needing to persevere, because isn’t it the truth many of us in this day and age sure do struggle with perseverance. Most of us think and act as if great things come in cans. The truth is they don't! Great things in God's kingdom don’t happen in an instant, much like those carbonated tablets you plop in water and they fizzle up instantly into orange cola. No, ministry that has a lasting impact can’t be microwaved. Most great things that happen in God's kingdom require much time, patience, dedication, and, to sum it up, perseverance. Watching a how-to video on You-Tube won't improve your tennis serve. Reading a bestselling book by a great Christian author won't improve your marriage. Those improvements require a whole lot of fits and starts, trial and error, sweat and tears and practice, practice, practice. It’s all about time and patience. And Christian ministry is much the same!

Look at Joseph! He spent years in slavery and prison before being raised to authority under Pharaoh. Moses spent forty years tending sheep in Midian before being called to lead God's chosen people out of Egypt. Paul spent three years in Damascus before presenting himself to the leaders of the Jerusalem church, and even then, he served as second to Barnabas! When it comes to effective ministry, Spirit-blessed ministry, ministry that has a lasting impact, it may require many years in the "minor leagues" before heading into the “majors” where we see God do "great things." So if you’re struggling and wondering just why God has you in the minors, so to speak, of effective ministry, just remember what He did in the lives of these men I just mentioned. In Joseph’s case and in Moses’ and in Paul’s – in each of their lives – every sheep tended, every prisoner's chore accomplished, every service to Barnabas, every "time at bat for the Tri-City Valley Cats,” all of it was an integral part of the grand narrative of what God was doing in their lives.

So the question is: where are you? And what are you doing right now? Do you feel like you’re shuffling along, like you are in the basement when everyone else in ministry seems to be on the rooftops? In short, are you unsettled, unsatisfied, unhappy with being in the minor leagues? Well, be faithful – and here’s the key word today -- persevere! Great things – I mean great things – can happen for God in the minor leagues, so keep your eyes fixed, keep your focus on Jesus who is your example of patience and perseverance, right? Keep Him in your line of vision, and no matter where God has you – high or low, basement or ceiling – you’ll have every assurance you are wedged in the middle of His will.

* “Be Thou My Vision” is attributed to Dallan Forgaill, Public Domain

© Joni and Friends

 

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