Never Give Up
Suppose Columbus had not sailed. Suppose Anne Sullivan had gotten discouraged and lost hope for Helen Keller. Suppose Louis Pasteur, searching for a cure for rabies, had not said to his weary helpers: “Keep on! The important thing is not to leave the subject!”
Many a race is lost at the last lap. Many a ship is washed up on the reefs outside the final port. Many a battle is lost on the last charge.
What hope have we of completing the course on which we have embarked? God is our hope. He will enable us to follow the course He has set us on. Jesus is able to save to the uttermost. (Hebrews 7:25)
But He cannot help us if we are running away. We must be willing to stand somewhere and trust Him. He has reinforcements to send, but there must be somebody there to meet them when they come.
—Adapted from Streams in the Desert, by Mrs. Charles Cowman
How bad do you want it?
Quitting is one of the easiest things in the world to do. I should know. I was a master of it. If universities gave degrees in quitting, I could have graduated summa cum laude. The problem is, I quit school.
School wasn’t the only thing that I quit. I left my first wife after one year of marriage. I quit preaching three years after being ordained. I was kicked out of the marines before my tour of duty was completed. During the first fifty years of my life, the only thing that I ever completed was a prison sentence. I would have quit that too if I could have.
There is a poem that my father always quoted when he saw I wasn’t doing my best. It was his philosophy of life. It says:
If a task is once begun,
Never leave it till it’s done.
Be the labor, great or small,
Do it well or not at all.
The reason that so many of us do not succeed is because we don’t want it bad enough. We don’t want that degree bad enough to put in the work that it takes to graduate. We don’t want to make the sports team bad enough to practice day in and day out. We don’t want to excel at our jobs bad enough to learn everything that we can about our chosen profession.
Unfortunately, mediocrity is not only thriving in the secular world. It is prevalent in many of our churches as well. Some of us are not interested in being the best Christians we can be. … We don’t read our Bibles or pray.
When I was hooked on drugs, I was the best junkie that I could be. Nothing could keep me from getting the drugs that I craved. My drugs meant more to me than my family, my friends, or my freedom. There was a snowstorm in Chicago one winter that was so bad that cars or buses could not move. So I walked three miles through almost two feet of snow to the dope house and then three miles back. That’s how bad I wanted to get high.
If I was that committed to something that was killing me, shouldn’t I be even more committed to the One who gave me life?
Do you want to be the best Christian that you can possibly be? If so, how bad do you want it?
—Burton Barr Jr.
Sir Winston Churchill took three years getting through eighth grade because he had trouble learning English grammar and composition. It seems ironic that years later Oxford University asked him to address its commencement exercises. He arrived with his usual props—a cigar, a cane, and a top hat.
As Churchill approached the podium, the crowd arose in appreciative applause. With unmatched dignity, he settled the crowd and stood confidently before his admirers. Removing the cigar and carefully placing the top hat on the podium, Churchill gazed at his waiting audience. Authority rang in Churchill’s voice as he shouted, “Never give up!” Several seconds passed before he rose to his toes and repeated: “Never give up!” His words thundered in their ears.
There was a deafening silence as Churchill reached for his hat and cigar, steadied himself with his cane, and left the platform. His commencement address was finished.
—The Speaker’s Sourcebook II
Whatever you do, don’t quit
I’ve felt like quitting lots of times because I make so many blunders, but I refuse to quit because I believe God. Therefore I know I have to obey Him, and I don’t dare quit!
What if God quit every time the body of believers gave him a lot of trouble? Then we’d all be in a mess! What if God quit every time you, His face, broke out in a bunch of ugly spots and pimples and boils and acne and whatnot? You’re the only face He’s got! What if He quit just because you’re ugly sometimes?
He’s got to keep on going even if you get yourself all tangled up and in a mess! He’s got to keep on teaching every part of His body coordination and how to function properly and operate smoothly and gracefully instead of all jerky and twisted. He’s got to keep going no matter how badly His body behaves sometimes, in spite of what His head tells it to do. He’s got to keep on teaching you how to walk even if you seem like a hopeless cripple—you, His body.
He’s got to try to make all the organs function properly even when you abuse them with the wrong food and contaminants—that’s the kind of body God has to put up with! Only the love, grace, and mercy of God can ever pull us through by faith and obedience to His Word, or we’d never make it.
“But if not,” we still have to keep going and believing and obeying. Like the three children of God who went into the fiery furnace in Daniel 3: They said, “Our God is able to deliver us, but if He doesn’t, we’re still not going to bow down to your System idol!” And it looked like the end, because into the furnace they went, and it even killed their executioners. But because of their faith and obedience, God was with them there, too, and they came out without even the smell of smoke on them.
Consider Job, whom the Lord let the Devil nearly destroy by killing his family and his finances, and almost even killing him. But Job still didn’t say “Uncle” to the Devil, or even to his wife, who told him to curse God and die! (Job 2:8–10) He just kept on believing God and obeying, with boils from head to toe, sitting on a heap of ashes and wearily scraping away the pus and the scabs and the sores with a broken piece of pottery, saying, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.” (Job 13:15) Can you do the same?
I hope you don’t have to get in such a mess as Job did. But if you do, don’t quit! Whatever you do, don’t quit! Keep going for God. Keep believing and obeying, no matter what happens! Maybe you’ll come out without even the smell of smoke on you, and be healthier and happier and wiser than ever before, like Job—if you will just hang on a little longer like he did and not give up.
Like the famous Captain John Paul Jones, wounded, half of his men dead or dying, and his ship sinking and on fire, when asked by the enemy if he was ready to surrender he screamed, “Hell, no! We haven’t even begun to fight yet!” And he won—in the long run.
Maybe you haven’t resisted unto blood like Jesus did, even unto the death of the cross! (Hebrews 12:3–4; Philippians 2:8) But even though it killed Him, only three days later He rose in triumph from the tomb. Death itself couldn’t hold Him down!
—David Brandt Berg
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