Did you ever have an idea but, because of the problems that you faced, you gave up on it? Did you ever quit something you wanted to do because it was hard? Just about everyone has given up on something significant to him or her. I believe one of the essential qualities that we must have to succeed in life is perseverance. Everyone knows about Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Are you aware that R. H. Macy failed seven times before his store caught on? Henry Ford went bankrupt twice. English novelist John Creasy got 753 rejection slips before publishing 564 books. Home run hero Babe Ruth, with 714 round trippers, also struck out 1,330 times. Think about Abraham Lincoln. He was defeated for the legislature, then failed in business the next year. The following year he was elected to the legislature, but following that, his sweetheart died and he suffered a nervous breakdown. He went on to be defeated for Congress, the Senate, and nomination for vice-president. He tried again for the Senate, unsuccessfully. Then two years later he was elected president. Don’t worry about failure. Worry about the chances you miss when you don’t even try.
There is another story about a writer, in his fifties, who had written a manuscript for a book and sent it to several publishers without success. He grew so discouraged that he threw the manuscript into the wastepaper basket. As his wife tried to salvage the manuscript, he told her sternly. “We’ve wasted enough time on it. I forbid you to remove it from the wastebasket!”
Well, you know how well that worked. She decided at least one more publisher should see the manuscript. When she arrived at that publisher’s office, she pulled out the most unusual looking package that the publisher had ever received as a manuscript. Underneath a wrapping of brown paper was a wastepaper basket still holding the writer’s manuscript. This way, she reasoned, she was not technically going against her husband’s wishes. She did not retrieve the manuscript—the publisher did it for her. And when he read it, he loved it.
The writer in this story is Norman Vincent Peale; the manuscript was The Power of Positive Thinking. The book that Peale tossed in the trashcan eventually sold 30 million copies.
It’s hard to imagine that the grandfather of the Positive Thinking Movement was ready to give up on the book that launched his career. This serves to remind us that no one is immune to discouragement. Everyone wants to throw in the towel on occasion. Fortunately for Norman Vincent Peale, Ruth Peale remembered the words of Paul, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest IF WE DO NOT GIVE UP.” (Galatians 6:9)
When our efforts don’t yield immediate returns, we may be tempted to call it quits. Paul reminds us not to look at the results, but to stay focused on the process of doing good. If we do, we have the assurance from God’s Word that ultimately (and without fail) we will reap the harvest we deserve.
Always remember, there is never a night that a sunrise couldn’t defeat or a problem that could not be overcome by hope. I think the story of two frogs tells it the best.
Two frogs fell into a deep cream bowl,
One was an optimistic soul
But the other took the gloomy view,
“I shall drown,” he cried, “and so will you.”
So with a last despairing cry,
He closed his eyes and said, “Good-bye.”
But the other frog, with a merry grin,
Said, “I can’t get out, but I won’t give in!
I’ll swim around till my strength is spent.
For having tried, I’ll die content.”
Bravely he swam until it would seem
His struggles began to churn the cream.
On the top of the butter at last he stopped
And out of the bowl he happily hopped.
What is the moral? It’s easily found.
If you can’t get out—keep swimming around!
When it doesn’t seem you are making a difference in the thing you are doing, remember God has not called you to grow big things, just to be faithful (1 Corinthians 3:6). Here are a couple of verses to ponder:
As for the rest of you, dear brothers and sisters, never get tired of doing good. 2 Thessalonians 3:13 NLT
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9 NIV
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