At 10:30 one night a little girl called out from her bed, “Mommy, will you bring me a drink of water?” Her mother dutifully obliged. One hour later the girl called out again, “Mommy, will you bring me a drink of water?” The mother obliged again, but this time she added in, “Now don’t ask me again tonight.” Despite that warning, though, thirty minutes later the little girl called out again, “Mommy, will you bring me a drink of water?” The mother thought, “She must really need a drink because she wouldn’t ask needlessly after what I told her the last time.” So the mother mercifully delivered another cup of water. But this time her warning was more serious and final: “If you bother me about this again tonight I’m going to spank you.” Fifteen minutes later, though, the little girl spoke up again. She said, “Mommy, when you get up to spank me, will you bring me a drink of water?”
Webster’s defines persistent as: “stubbornly continuing in one’s course in spite of opposing influences.” The World War II generation, the so-called “greatest generation,” knew a ton about being persistent, but I fear that with each generation since we’ve lost more and more of the concept. Maybe fast-food restaurants and microwaves ruined us. If a kid has to spend an inordinate amount of time on a task today, he’ll just quit with it and go do something else. Instant gratification is what we’re into now.
The fact is, though, that some things in life will always call for persistence. I’m talking about things such as keeping a marriage together, holding down a job, raising a child, and paying off a mortgage. To accomplish these assignments you have to (as Webster’s put it) stubbornly continue in your course of action in spite of opposing influences. Speaking from my own personal experience, I’d put starting a church on that list too.
I write this today as a word of encouragement to any reader who is just about to quit on something upon which he or she shouldn’t be quitting. I won’t pretend that everything is going great with your situation or that you don’t have problems. Welcome to life! But that doesn’t mean that you ought to throw in the towel on what you are doing. Listen, old-fashioned stubbornness doesn’t have to be a bad thing. To the contrary, when you use it to stick to a God-approved task, it becomes a valuable resource to either keep you where God wants you or get you to where He wants you to go. Keep this in mind and hang in there. As the old saying goes, it’s always too soon to quit.