Monday, November 8, 2010
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The man who first climbed Mt. Everest said his reason for risking it was simply "because it was there." That's how it was with that monster sand dune near a Bible conference where I was speaking. It was no Mt. Everest, but it was a pretty daunting mountain of sand. The reward for reaching the top was a scenic view of a nearby lake and the satisfaction that you did it. I convinced two of our team members to climb that dune with me. Climbing sand is kind of like "much effort, little progress," as your shoes start filling with sand and your legs start yelling "Stop this!" We were about halfway to the top when my younger colleagues said, "Is this far enough?" They were ready to quit. We stopped to catch our breath and I pointed to the bottom of the dune and I said, "Hey, look at how far we've already come! Let's not turn back now!" They rolled their eyes and grudgingly agreed to follow the old guy all the way to the top. We were very hot. We were very tired, but the view at the top and the joy of conquest made it worth it!
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "When You Feel Like Giving Up."
We were halfway there and we were tempted to turn back. You might be at that point today. It's been an exhausting climb, you don't have much left, and there are reasons to be discouraged; reasons to wonder if you'll ever make it the rest of the way. God is showing up today to say, "Don't give up now!"
His message to you could come from our word for today from the Word of God in Nehemiah 4, the story of one of the most amazing victories in the Bible. Against all odds, God's people, under Nehemiah's leadership, rebuild the devastated walls and gates of Jerusalem in just 52 days. Like you, they had plenty of reasons to quit when they "rebuilt the wall till all of it reached half its height." They were at that dangerous point of being halfway there; maybe much like you are.
Their reasons for giving up are familiar ones. Their responsibilities had exhausted them so much, as the Bible says, "the strength of the laborers (was) giving out." There was also rubble that discouraged them. Some were saying, "There is so much rubble here we cannot rebuild the wall."
The other factor that can tempt you to turn back is resistance that unnerves you. They were surrounded by enemies who were ready to attack them to stop them. I can guarantee you that if you're doing something God wants you to do, the devil is throwing attacks at you to stop you.
But Nehemiah 4 shows us the three energizers that will keep you in the game. First, Nehemiah "stationed...people...at the exposed places." You fight back by fixing the leaks; strengthening those gaps in your life or your work where Satan could get in. Secondly, you focus on the Lord. Nehemiah said, "Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome." You focus on the great Lord who brought you this far rather than the great load that's been weighing you down.
The third energizer when you're staggering at the "halfway there" point is to fight for lives. Nehemiah reminded his workers of what was really at stake in their finishing, "Fight for your brothers, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes." Remember, in any work for the Lord, it's not about tasks to accomplish; it's about lives at stake!
Fix the leaks that could sink you, focus on the Lord who brought you this far, and fight for the lives that need for you to finish what you've started. Jesus didn't bring you this far so you could quit. He's counting on you, not to just start this race, but to finish your race as He did for you.