My first paying job was a paper route. I got the job in 6th grade. I would deliver papers to 50-60 houses each day, seven days a week. I rigged up a bike with saddlebags to hold the papers. I would deliver after school through the week and then I had to make the deliveries early in the morning on Saturdays and Sundays. It worked out well in the summer and fall. But when winter came and I had to face the snow and walk the route, I was ready to quit. Fortunately, my parents didn’t let me. They knew that I needed to develop perseverance if I was going to hold down a job or fulfil other obligations in life.
This made me think about the people of Israel at Mt. Sinai after they had been delivered out of Egypt. God called Moses up onto the mountain to receive his law. The people were told to stay at the base of the mountain and wait for Moses to return. And so the people waited. But before long, they lost patience. They were restless. And they persuaded Moses’ brother Aaron to craft a golden calf that they could worship. Let’s just say it didn’t end well. Their limit was forty days. That’s how long it took them to give up on God’s instructions.
What is your limit? How long are you willing to stick with a difficult ministry, a difficult task, a difficult relationship? How long are you willing to follow God’s guidelines for sexual purity? How long will you keep working hard for a dysfunctional company? Will you persevere when the going gets tough and there is no light at the end of the tunnel? How long are you willing to trust God’s plan?
Hopefully you are willing to endure more than forty days. The author of Hebrews highlights a group of individuals who persevered and lived in faith their entire lives. They died without seeing what they had hoped for (Hebrews 11:39-40). But make no mistake. It was worth it in the end. Don’t give up on God’s plan!
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