The Other Side Of Not Giving Up

Matt Mylin   -  

Some of the best lessons I’ve learned in life were typically the hard way.

As a teenager, earning a thousand dollars to put in a savings account was harder than I thought it would be because there was stuff I liked to buy.

Excelling at basketball and baseball was harder than I thought it would be because I didn’t enjoy running sprints and practicing drills.

Learning to lead others was harder than I thought it would be because it required humility, patience, and healthy communication.

Being a parent was harder than I thought it would be because parenting responsibilities highlight my self-centered tendencies.

Staying committed to spiritual disciplines long-term was harder than I thought it would be because it required the daily practice of dying to selfish desires. Here are some easy ways to stay committed when sharing the love of Jesus with others.

Thank God for his mercies that are new every morning.

Often, we think the hard way means learning from our mistakes. While that may be true, the path to accomplishing anything of value is on the other side of not giving up, no matter how difficult. Comfort and convenience will keep us complacent.

John Maxwell writes, “Anything worthwhile is uphill.” 

Seth Godin writes, “The stuff that matters most is always inconvenient. If it’s not, we might be mistaken for what matters most.” 

Proverbs 14:4 says, “Without oxen, a stable stays clean, but you need a strong ox for a large harvest.” 

The Proverbs above is one of my favorites but is also one of the most challenging for living out faith in everyday life. If you need a strong ox for a large harvest, what does it take to have a strong ox?

– Resources. An ox needs plenty of food and water to be strong.

– Restraint. An ox needs to be trained and directed to work.

– Mess. An ox will create a mess. It will require the dirty work of shoveling stuff that stinks.

In other words: no mess, no harvest.

Jesus said to his disciples, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields” (Matthew 9:37-38).

Scripture gives us a realistic view of what it means to be part of the harvest: helping others know who Jesus is and following him with their hearts (learn how to be a resilient follower of Jesus). The work of the harvest that Jesus is talking about is similar to what it takes to have a large ox.

– Resources. Being part of helping people know Jesus will require resources like time and money.

– Restraint. Living with unrestraint never goes well. People need instructions from God’s Word to guide their lives. Being part of the harvest is going on the mission of Jesus to build his kingdom.

– Mess. Walking with people through the ups and downs of life will be messy. So it’s important to remind ourselves, “No mess, no harvest.”

As a church, we are committed to praying for more workers to be sent into the fields like Jesus directed, but more importantly, we are committed to being those workers in the fields.

Being witnesses of how Jesus changed our lives, sharing the good news of who he is to our families, friends, neighbors, and co-workers, and not being afraid of the mess that comes with the work of the harvest may be hard. But remember:

Anything worthwhile will be uphill, inconvenient, and on the other side of not giving up.