The Price and Reward of Persistence {The Close of Day}

4

 

I suppose if we thought about it, then we could all think of things that are easy to persevere with.  There are those enjoyable things; nice hobbies, enriching experiences or fun activities.  We look forward to the end goal, the big win or the fluff and bubble of the achievement.

But there are other things.  Tiresome things that are just plain hard work.  Difficult things, challenging things.  We start them because we have to, we try to see them through, but somewhere along the way we lost steam, or track or motivation – maybe sometimes all three!

Persistence is a funny old game. It’s easy to persist when the rewards are full and swift, tangible or desirable.

But it’s harder when the goal posts are an unknown distance, with an unknown time of arrival, and the journey there is long, hard, bumpy and downright hard work.

And oh, how our Christian walk is like this.  We know our end destination is Heaven. We know where we will be arriving when our time here is done…but there is a journey to be had before we get there.

So, how can these words from Romans encourage us today as we think through whatever journey today has taken on us, and how this has woven a part of the rich tapestry of our life’s sojourn?

But sometimes it doesn’t feel like a rich tapestry as much as a messy ball of yarn with no clearly defined beginning or end, that only drags into knots the more you try to straighten it out!

 

Persistence has a price

 

Yes, that’s the bad news.

And the price will look different to all of us.

Paul tells us to persist in doing good  and in seeking glory, honour and immortality.

But doing good doesn’t come cheap. We meet circumstances and people along the way that make our journey hard, that add bumps to the road and rain hailstones on our parades.  We battle with cantankerous colleagues and unneighbourly neighbours.  We lock horns with ornery children and grouchy grown ups.  We might be pierced by arrows of slurs and insults, let down with discouraging words and even laughed at or mocked.

And among all of life’s difficult days, we have to find a way to keep singing we can do hard things.

Those moments that make you long to crawl back under the duvet, or hide in the quiet, or wish you’d never opened the can because – who knew! There were worms in it!  Those moments are where we grow.  They are where our persistence can take root and feed our hearts and characters.  Those hard things you do, they don’t go unnoticed.  Even when you feel like you’re screaming into the wind, persist! Persevere! Keep on going, because the price is high – sometimes far higher than we signed up for or ever felt we were willing to pay – but this is our growing ground.

When we battle through the hard to keep on doing the good, when we seek God’s glory and honour above all else, then we will see the fruits of our labours.

Several weeks ago, at the Sunday School I run, we planted seeds in plastic cups. I chose lavender, and we celebrated God’s creation by planting and watching something grow.  And in those first days, when all that was there was damp soil, we would eagerly watch.  A day would pass.  Still soil. Check the position for sunlight.  Another day. A little water.  But, yep still just soil.  And the days go by and nothing changes until suddenly, poking through, is  the small green head of a small green stem.

And, oh there’s excitement! The nurture, the care, the right attention to detail, and there is growth.

 

IMG_20160428_201821

But of course, it can’t be left there! The nurture, the care, the right attention to detail needs to go on.  And on.  And on.  Even on the days when there seems to be little change.  And even on the days when they wilt a little and we need to check our nurturing and caring habits.

Growth is an ongoing and continual process that requires ongoing and continual persistence.

And the good news is this…

 

Persistence has a reward

 

Today, our thin little lavender stems are starting to grow new leaves.  They are changing from that generic ‘cress’ look that seedlings seem to have; the leaves are changing shape and there is a scent starting to burst out of those small, green points.

With the persistence comes the reward.  We may not always see the fruit of what we sow. We may have seasons of planting, and seasons of reaping.  Sometimes both, but we should never be doing neither.

And our ultimate gain?  Even when the land seems barren and the trees seem fruitless?

Paul reminds us that the he will give eternal life.

Of course, our works don’t save us, our deeds are not our payment into heaven, but the sum of our life still matters.  Our call is to run with perseverance, even when we feel like hobbling along the side of the track from bench to bench!

Friends, take heart. If you are in the midst of life’s hard things, if you feel like throwing in the towel and calling it a day, pick up your baton and run! Persevere! Don’t quit!

 

Thoughts for Reflection

 

  • Where and what are life’s hard things for you today? Pray that God can help you persevere through them.
  • What are you considering quitting on? Is it something that you should be giving up on, or are you being pressed to persist?  Ask God for the wisdom to be sure.
  • How can you praise God for the reward he has given us through Christ Jesus?

Grace and Love

Helen x

 

 

Linked with Snippets of Inspiration, Cord of 6

Comments

  1. What a great post! Thank you for the encouragement to persist. I love your comparison to the plant and how it needs to be continually taken care of. The daily dying to self is not easy and is often uncomfortable. But it’s often what produces the good fruit inside of us as our character is sifted.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a great subject — reading it was a good reminder for me. I love starting projects, but persisting to the end — not so much. I’ll be thinking on your example of planting the seed and persisting to the reap the reward.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Lauren McKinley says:

    Hardships can bring us such rich blessing when we persevere. Thanks for the wonderful reminder!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Mihaela Echols says:

    Wow where you said “persistance has a price” It’s so true so real but so rewarding.

    Like

  5. My difficulty now is praying for my son to return to Christ and the pain of his choices. I am persistent in prayer, but some days are hard. I will not give up

    Like

  6. Never give up!

    Like

  7. We can do the hard things. It’s never easy but that’s the beauty of it. The difficulties bring us more than we realize once we step past the pain and can see the rest

    Like

  8. What a great subject, we must all way be persistent in all that we do especially our faith.

    Like

  9. Wonderful – I know I do better at pushing through the hard when I know the end is set… yet the ambiguity of life makes some of the hardships harder…

    I’d love for you to share this with The Cozy Reading Spot this weekend if you want.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. KRISTI says:

    Oooh, what a great post and what a great question: “What are you considering quitting on? Is it something that you should be giving up on, or are you being pressed to persist? Ask God for the wisdom to be sure.”

    I’m in the midst of praying to decide if I should persist in something or if God is leading me away from it. The great thing is that because I’m seeking His will, I know He will show me wholeheartedly.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Jed Jurchenko says:

    Such great thoughts Helen, and the perfect post for starting my day. As a daddy of four girls, who also writes and works full time, it’s easy to get discouraged and feel like the writing dreams are not moving forward fast enough. Thank you for the reminder to keep pressing forward 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  12. persistence in any venture is incredibly rewarding – like blogging!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: