I sense a theme that has filtered through the last 24 hours: “Never give up.”
No, I haven’t had the opportunity to stick with something difficult today or faced great odds of any kind. It’s just a message that keeps breaking through. It started last night when David and I watched Divergent. (No, I haven’t read the book yet, but I’m only 31st on the waiting list at the library.) In one scene, an initiate into a new faction surrenders during a fight. She is then left hanging from a wet bridge to either hold on and be vindicated, surrender and be kicked out, or let go and die. The message comes through loud and clear after the incident: Don’t ever give up. Not an entirely positive approach to the concept, but point taken.
Tonight at our sermon discussion group, we chatted briefly about the fact that, as believers, there is no retirement. We don’t set about relaxing in our old age; no, we spend ourselves out entirely for the Lord until our final breath. There is a sense of weariness attached to that idea that may cause us to want to give up even now, but knowing that Jesus poured out His life for us, we can only offer our lives to Him in obedience, worship, and gratitude for His priceless gift. The very act of pouring out brings joy, whereas giving up is a form of entitlement, an expression of faithlessness. “Do not grow weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up,” Galatians 6:9.
When I returned home, I saw that I had another follower on my blog. I read through his profile and a few of his posts. Would you believe it, one of them was dedicated to this message of never giving up, this time in pursuit of a dream or success.
How does this fit into my life right now? Why this particular recurring message? Is it about this blog, an encouragement to keep writing? Are there struggles around the bend that will test my endurance? I honestly don’t know.
I don’t think it is a coincidence, though, that I am working through a couple of resources right now related to developing a personal mission statement for my life and a strategy for the focus and goal(s) of my blog. Again, in our small group, the main purpose of the evening was to define our essential mission in life- that “one thing” like David sought in Psalms 27:4. Everything else falls under or within that essential element.
I haven’t narrowed it down to something succinct enough to share yet, but I am inspired by the apostle John’s words in 1 John 3:16-23. In a nutshell, we are to confess Christ and love others with the love He has given us. It flows into how we spend our time, money, and talents, and in doing so we find our confidence and rest.
True love is a time-consuming, self-abandoning thing. It holds no expectations, only hope, and it pours out continually, even at the giver’s expense. Yet, in giving love, we receive such great rewards, not necessarily from the person we are loving, but from the One enabling us to love. Those rewards far outweigh any this world has to offer. “Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of the Lord.” Yes, please!
For now, I will not give up on defining that essential mission- that thing which God has uniquely called me to do. I will not give up trying to eliminate the non-essentials that usurp so much of my time and attention. I will not give up loving, even when it is hard and my human nature wants something tangible in return. I will not give up dying to myself in order to find my life in Him, but I have a long way to go on that one:) Never, ever give up.