cropped-rose-white-and-pinkHebrews 12:1, “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us”

We have all at one time or another joined a weight loss program or we have some sort of plan to lose those extra-unwanted pounds that we put on over the holidays. Whatever weight loss plan you choose, you are bound to lose some of those pounds, that is at least for a while. However, most dieters reach a plateau before they reach their ultimate goal, and oh, so many get discouraged when the thrill leaves before all the weight does. Thus, many give up and go back to their old ways of eating. Something similar happens in our service for the Lord. When we begin our walk with Jesus, we easily shed many of the sins that have weighted us down. We give exciting testimonies about being freed from addictive behaviors such as alcohol and tobacco. Then the attention shifts to another new believer in Christ, and we discover that those “little” sins like jealousy, resentment, and even anger don’t drop away as readily as the “big” ones. Many of us get so discouraged that we lose sight of our commitment to Christ and go back to some of our old ways of living. When Jesus talked about the cost of being His disciple in (Luke 14:25-35), He wanted those who heard Him to realize that believing in Him and following Him involves more than starting something that is exciting. It means sticking with something that is difficult. So, whether we’re talking about weight loss or spiritual gain, the message is the same … what matters the most isn’t how we started but how we finish.

The writer of the book of Hebrews encourages us to run the race of faith and persevere to the very end, following the example of those who have gone before us. It takes all of our spiritual stamina to complete the race, but we don’t run the course alone. Christ Himself helps us toward the finish line. Therefore, “let us lay aside every weight, and … run with endurance the race that is set before us”. To illustrate my point … a preacher who was growing weary in the ministry had a dream one night. He saw himself pounding away at a huge chunk of granite with a pickaxe. It was his job to break it into small pieces. But hard as he tried, he couldn’t chip off even a tiny piece. At last, tired and disappointed, he decided to give up. Just then, a stranger appeared and said, “Weren’t you given orders to do that work? Your duty is to give your best regardless of what happens.” The preacher, with a renewed determination, lifted the pickaxe high in the air and gave the granite a crushing blow that broke the rock into a thousand pieces. He had almost quit one blow too soon.

Further thoughts:

(1) Have you grown tired and weary in your service for God?
(2) Have you become so discouraged that you’re tempted to “throw in the towel”?

If so, remember the preacher’s dream. Better than that … remember God’s promise spoken by the apostle Paul, “Let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart” (Galatians 6:9) or Haggai’s words from the Lord to Zerubbabel, the leader of the project to rebuild the temple, “Be Strong”, “I am with you”, “I will bless you”, and “I have chosen you”. These words from the Lord should encourage all who are weary in their service for the Lord. If you’re stressed and exhausted, remember that God’s with you and He will strengthen you for the work He’s called you to do. No matter how difficult it might be for us, and even when success seems remote or impossible, we are to remain steadfast and faithful; knowing that there will be an ample reward for all those who persevere to the very end.