On one of his expeditions to Antarctica, famed explorer Ernest Shakleton aptly named his ship the Endurance. At that point, the southern most continent was an unexplored polar desert, thought by many to be unexplorable due to the harsh conditions. It was one of the last great undiscovered and uncharted places on earth.
Shackleton knew that the expedition would require tremendous endurance, and the name of the ship served as a constant reminder to himself and the crew of what it would take to succeed.
The life of one who chooses to accomplish anything of significance will similarly require endurance. While our world seeks the next quick fix, overnight success story or turnaround specialist, the reality is that true and lasting success is achieve over the long haul. Developing endurance is the key ingredient in virtually all success stories.
While we often read in scripture stories of miraculous and instantaneous life change. These stories are the exception rather than the norm. While some heard the gospel and instantly believed, many required years before they accepted the message. In Acts 19 we encounter the Apostle Paul on his third missionary journey. We read that while in Ephesus he “entered the synagogue and for three months spoke boldly, reasoning and persuading them...” (vs 8). The text goes on to record that many of the Ephesians continued in unbelief, and that Paul continued to diligently and courageously share his faith in Jesus. It says, “this continued for two years so that all the residents of Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks” (vs 10). That is an incredible example of endurance.
Endurance is a character trait we all admire, but it is tough when our own life requires this virtue. When you decide to follow Jesus, you are stepping into an incredible new life of freedom and abundance. However, you are also stepping into a life that will require endurance. Perhaps you have a family member, friend or co-worker that you have been praying for and trying to share the gospel with for months or even years with out success. If so, you are walking in the footsteps of all the great Christ followers of the past.
Do not be discouraged.
Do not quit.
Continue in your boldness. Continue in your faithfulness. God is moving through you, as he did through Paul all those years ago in Ephesus. Like Paul, your current assignment may take years, but it will be worth it.
So, let me challenge you to choose to be a person of endurance. The world will be better for it… and so will you!