Have you ever started something and struggled to finish it?
I know of friends who have started degrees at prestige Universities and then lose the will to finish. I know of mates who started on the next glamorous food diet and lost interest within a few weeks.
I think we’ve all started things we wished we had finished.
Let me tell you a story.
Rebuild the wall
There’s a story of a guy named Nehemiah, who found out the walls around his home city had been burned down and the place was in disarray. After a stirring in his heart, he felt he was called to move back to his home town, rally people around him, in order that he might rebuild the walls.
A few weeks went by, and the wall was half built, and in fact people had been working tirelessly to even get to that point. The Bible says, that they worked with all of their heart (Nehemiah chapter 4, verse 6).
Some opposition arose. People outside the city of Jerusalem were threatening to attack, and not long after even people from within the team were whingeing. They wanted to give up. They said it was no good. They said it was useless in continuing to pursue such a dream.
When it’s half-completed
Maybe you’ve been in those situations, where things are half done, half completed, and there’s still more work to be done, but it seems everything and everyone is against you.
Well it’s at this lowest point, that Nehemiah chooses to STAND amongst the crowd, and defiantly declare that the people would continue to rebuild the walls despite all the negativity and hostility. In the end, the people were motivated and the vision was fulfilled. The walls around Jerusalem were rebuilt.
All it took was someone to have a holy discontentedness to unfinished business. All it took was some tenacity to persevere and to finish what was started.
All it took was someone to STAND and chose to finish what they started.
Maybe you are half way through that vision, that degree, that resolution and you need to simply STAND and declare before God and others, that you will complete what you started!
And simply put then, the key to perseverance is to make a cognizant choice, a defiant kind of decision to actually finish what you started. It’s about getting your mind right and setting your heart on completing the task. It may not be easy and it may have been more enjoyable when you first started and you were kicking goals.
When the encouragement wanes
What do you do when the cheering has stopped and the encouragement has waned? It’s in the middle of the rebuilding, in the middle of the implementation of the idea that the struggle comes.
That’s happened before plenty of times for me. I’ve started a new Salvation Army Thrift Shop from scratch. After doing the initial strategic planning and after realising how hard it would be to lease a shop, get a permit, find staff, do a budget, etc, I had to find the will to continue.
When the encouragement waned, I had to stand, be decisive and continue what I started.
Just like Nehemiah.
That’s the art of perseverance. Continue on even when it’s not as exciting; even when there’s opposition; even when the work load is difficult; even when no one is cheering you anymore and you feel lonely and despondent.
And you wait to see the joy when you have finally finished.
Pete Brookshaw is the Senior Minister of The Salvation Army Craigieburn. He has a Bachelor of both Business and Theology and is passionate about the church being dynamic and effective in the world and creating communities of faith that are outward-focused, innovative, passionate about the lost and committed to societal change. He has been blogging since 2006 at http://www.petebrookshaw.com about leadership and faith and you can find him on:
Peter Brookshaw’s previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/peter-brookshaw.html