Don’t you love stories of people who have faced the odds, pushed on no matter the difficulties, and gained victory? Like many of you, I’ve read stirring stories of people who wouldn’t give up. Remember the film, Rudy? One of my favorites. It thrills me every time I watch it. There are so many stories in life of facing the odds, refusing to give up, and receiving reward at the end. Sadly, there are also stories of giving up, missing out big time.
I recently heard a story of a man who decided to climb a mountain to raise funds for a charity he loved. Money had already been pledged before day one of the climb. Day two and more pledges were made. It was the same on day three but on day four no new pledges were reported. Muscles were aching by this point, the higher altitude making the climb more difficult and slower. Nights were cold. Day five came with no new pledges. The climb had lost its allure to the discouraged climber. He made the decision to turn back. He knew he could have pressed on. He was sure he could do it, but what for, he reasoned with himself. He descended the mountain to the cheers of many who applauded what he had accomplished, speaking comforting words to him for not making it entirely. A man stepped forward and said, “My company was watching you. We were ready to triple the amount you raised when you reached the summit. We were so hoping you wouldn’t give up.” What a blow to the climber. If only he hadn’t quit when he knew he could have made it.
Immediately, I thought about life’s journey. We are each on a path. The way we go is hard at times. We want to quit, to find the easy way out. We give up. We soothe ourselves, taking comfort in encouraging words of others who tell us it’s understandable we gave up. Then life is over. We stand before the One who gave His life for us. He has watched our journey, hoping we would never give up doing the right things no matter how hard the journey. He had so many rewards to give us. In His presence we know like never before what He has done for us. We catch a glimpse of the rewards we would have been given. We could have given those rewards back in worship. Because we gave up, we have so much less to give back. If only we didn’t give up when the climb became steep. If only we had taken His own strength to help us. If only we had called out to Him. He would have come to help; instead, we went on alone, got discouraged, and quit. If only…..may there be no “if only” in your life today.
So let’s not get tired of doing what is good.
At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.”