Dave Zehring from Mesa, AZ shared this dramatic true story.
On March 6, 1987, Eamonn Coghlan, the Irish world record holder at 1500 meters, was running in a qualifying heat at the World Indoor Track Championships in Indianapolis, IN. With two and a half laps left, he was tripped. He fell, but he got up and with great effort managed to catch the leaders. With only 20 yards left in the race, he was in third place — good enough to qualify for the finals.
He looked over his shoulder to the inside, and, seeing no one, he let up. But another runner, charging hard on the outside, passed Coghlan a yard before the finish, thus eliminating him from the finals. Coghlan’s great comeback effort was rendered worthless by taking his eyes off the finish line.
It’s tempting to let up when the sights around us look favorable. But we finish well in the Christian race only when we fix our eyes on the goal: Jesus Christ.
Perseverance is an essential quality for a growing Christian. The author of Hebrews challenges us (10:35-36): “So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.” As we are surrounded by turmoil and chaos, we are often tempted to become disheartened and discouraged. Instead, child of God, keep your eyes on Jesus (12:1-2)! Persevere! Your perseverance will be richly rewarded!
Jeremiah was a prophet who was given a very discouraging message. His nation was facing the threat of the Babylonian empire. What was Jeremiah’s message to them? “Let’s have faith and be encouraged because the Lord will make sure we don’t experience any loss or hardship”? No! The message the Lord gave Jeremiah to tell the people was this: “Because of your sin and rebellion, I am using the Babylonians to judge you, but I will limit your captivity to 70 years because my plan for you is ultimately for your good. So surrender to the Babylonians. Don’t resist them. Accept your captivity.” Can you imagine giving that message to our fellow Americans while we are facing an attack from Russia, China or the Taliban! As you can imagine, Jeremiah’s message was not appreciated!
Jeremiah is known as the “weeping prophet”. He even wrote the book of Lamentations. He had a discouraging message to deliver to his nation, but he was obedient to the Lord to do it. He was faithful. He persevered!
John C. Maxwell (well known pastor, author and leadership expert) has this to say about perseverance: “The trials and pressures of life and how we face them often define us. Confronted by adversity, many people give up while others rise up. How do those who succeed do it? They persevere.
So, dear one, don’t give up! Rise up! Don’t throw away your confidence. Keep going! Persevere! Imua (straight ahead) for Jesus!
This Sunday, August 22, we will resume our “Choices” series with the challenge to “Choose Your Posture!” Kneel to Serve, Sit to Learn and Stand in Perseverance. Hopefully you can join us in-person in the building at 10:35am for worship. If not, please join us online for the Live broadcast on both Facebook (Search: Honolulu AG) and our YouTube channel (Search: Honolulu Assembly of God). A link will be posted later here to our website (honoluluag.org).
Note: Last Sunday was Compassion Sunday and Pastor Ron Peer inspired us with the call to minister to the poor and homeless. If you missed it, please check it out at one of the above resources.
Aloha and Aloha ke Akua!