Sir Winston Churchill took three years to get through the eighth grade because he had trouble learning English. Life was not always easy for this leader. How fascinating that many years later Oxford University invited him to give the commencement address at their graduation ceremony.
As Churchill spoke to students on this important day, with power and authority, he shouted three words. He said, “Never give up!” Several seconds passed before Churchill rose to his toes and said it again, “Never give up!” There was now a silence as Churchill reached his cane and top hat and walked off the stage. All he said were the words, “Never give up!” A short and eloquent commencement address if ever there was one.
This story brings out the importance of perseverance. The Greek word translated “perseverance” essentially means “to abide.” It is sometimes seen in the New Testament as “patience.”
Perseverance is seen in the wonderful account in Mark 2:1-12 in which four friends help a man who has been paralyzed for a long time. The friends take the man to a house where Jesus is speaking. They find the dwelling surrounded by a crowd of people. They need to do something. So they climb the outside stairs and dig through the sticks and mud on top of the house. They lower their friend to the feet of Jesus. Jesus says, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” Our Lord then tells him to get up and walk. And he does!
This tremendous narrative brings out the power of perseverance. The four friends refuse to give up when they see that big crowd surrounding the house. They are completely committed. This biblical story makes us look at our life. Where do we need to persevere?
Personally, you might be working through a health challenge, family matter, or financial obstacle. No matter the situation, the need is present to persevere. Collectively, we continue to work through this pandemic time and we struggle to address racism. We also seek equality for members of the LGBTQ community and we work to bring hope to our refugee and immigrant sisters and brothers. And this is only the beginning of matters that need attention.
Life is never easy, but the call is to keep moving forward. Surrounded by good friends and the presence of our mighty God, might we keep working to make a difference! Blessings to you! Scott