Persist, endure, keep on
In between the greetings Paul recalls a name: Archippus. But Paul doesn’t send him greetings. No, he encourages Archippus to live his calling to the full and to take it seriously right to the end: 17And, oh, yes, tell Archippus, “Do your best in the job you received from the Master. Do your very best.”
We must all reconsider the task that God gave us. We must ensure that we did not take a wrong turn somewhere along the way and are now travelling on the wrong road. Remember, all of us received a special calling from God. Each one of us was specially placed here on earth to carry out a special task for God. The question is whether you are still doing it?
Circumstances can quickly call you away from your calling. Sometimes it feels as if there are no real results. No, sometimes it actually feels as if we’re going in reverse. Many Thursday evenings my wife return home from a farm here in the Boland where she is running a project for teenagers, feeling very discouraged. Then she wonders if it is really worth it, because there doesn’t seem to be any progress.
Circumstances can kill your calling and as a result you give up. Often we focus so much on the results or rather the lack thereof that we lose all energy. Then we must take Paul’s encouragement seriously and give it our all to live our calling.
Do not focus on the results, because it will depress you. We don’t see the full picture. But maybe, just maybe something will stick in someone’s mind and the person will repent. Rather focus on God and make sure that you are acting according to God’s will. Make sure that you invest enough energy, because if you are faithful, God will make the seed you sow, grow.
Maybe, like me, you will learn a lot from the following story (author unknown):
A man was sleeping at night in his cabin when suddenly his room filled with light and the Savior appeared. The Lord told the man he had work for him to do, and showed him a large rock in front of his cabin. The Lord explained that the man was to push against the rock with all his might. This the man did, day after day.
For many years he toiled from sun up to sun down, his shoulders set squarely against the cold, massive surface of the unmoving rock, pushing with all his might. Each night the man returned to his cabin sore and worn out, feeling that his whole day had been spent in vain. Seeing that the man was showing signs of discouragement, Satan decided to enter the picture by placing thoughts into the man’s mind: “You have been pushing against that rock for a long time, and it hasn’t budged. Why kill yourself over this? You are never going to move it.” Thus giving the man the impression that the task was impossible and that he was a failure, these thoughts discouraged and disheartened the man. “Why kill myself over this?” he thought. “I’ll just put in my time, giving just the minimum effort and that will be good enough.”
And that he planned to do until one day he decided to make it a matter of prayer and take his troubled thoughts to the Lord. “Lord”, he said, “I have labored long and hard in your service, putting all my strength to do that which you have asked. Yet, after all this time, I have not even budged that rock by half a millimeter. What is wrong? Why am I failing?”
The Lord responded compassionately, “My friend, when I asked you to serve me and you accepted, I told you that your task was to push against the rock with all your strength, which you have done. Never once did I mention to you that I expected you to move it. Your task was to push. And now you come to me, with your strength spent, thinking that you have failed. But, is that really so? “Look at yourself. Your arms are strong and muscled, your back sinewy and brown, your hands callused from constant pressure, and your legs have become massive and hard. Through opposition you have grown much and your abilities now surpass that which you used to have. Yet you haven’t moved the rock. But your calling was to be obedient and to push and to exercise your faith and trust in My wisdom. This you have done. “I, my friend, will now move the rock.”
Makes you think!
What is your calling?
Where is work needed?
Father, please help me to diligently carry out the task You gave me right to the end. I want to be dependable and useful to You. Amen.