It has been happening for at least three months. There is a red bird that has been attacking the front glass doors of the church building almost daily. He doesn’t seem to hurt himself and he doesn’t hit it very hard. But he has been trying to break through constantly. We’ve shooed him away, tried to frighten him and make him stop. But he just keeps coming back. You could reason that he’s just a dumb bird that doesn’t know any better but there is a better lesson here. This is one persistent bird! I could learn a lot from this winged fellow if I would just stop and think.
Persistence Looks Silly to Some
There are other birds in the church yard that seem to be watching this cardinal. I wonder what they think of his efforts? Sometimes our persistence may look foolish to the people around us. We constantly strive to do what is right and good but often fall short (Romans 3:23). Our friends wonder why even try? Marriage is an excellent example. Why does a woman put up with an inattentive husband who throws his dirty clothes all around the house, is rude, abrasive and chauvinistic? Because she is unwilling to give up. She persists in her marriage. ((There is a time to leave but many people flee at the first sign of trouble. As such we have become a people of serial marriages.)) Why will a man go to church services week after week but sin so horribly day after day? Perhaps he is trying to mend his ways. Maybe he is trying to persist in righteous conduct. Do your neighbors look at you as odd because you get up early on Sunday and drive to worship services? You are persisting in your faith!
The world often does not understand our dedication to Jesus Christ. Paul said that he “preached Christ crucified, a stumblingblock to Jews and folly to Gentiles” (1 Corinthians 1:23). ((It is interesting that the word “stumblingblock” comes from a Greek word which today gives us the word “scandal.” The word translated “folly” comes from another Greek word which today gives us the word “moron.” In other words, the preaching of Christ crucified was a scandal to the Jews and moronic to the Gentiles!)) The non-Christians thought the believers were crazy for following a crucified Lord. Yet our brethren of ancient days persisted in their faith.
Persistence may look foolish but the one who perseveres will be rewarded greatly (2 Timothy 4:6-8; Revelation 2:10)!
This little red bird is surely flying around with a headache. He probably hammers away at the door for an hour or so and then leaves only to return tomorrow. Now I’m not sure if he remembers the pain of the previous day but he will resume his assault each morning. Sometimes it hurts to persevere. I think of athletes who train through their pain and then accomplis great things. I think of a student preparing for a major exam who studies through the night even though sleep is calling. Dedication is always uncomfortable but is also productive.
In the Bible I think of Abraham who suffered through the prospect of sacrificing his own son. He did not waver but raised his hand to slay his son before being stopped by God (Genesis 22:12). Can you imagine the intensity of his pain as he bound his son to the altar?
Jesus is the best example. As he moved nearer to Calvary Jesus suffered more and more (Matthew 26:38). He cast himself upon the chilly ground of Gethsemane and called to his father for strength to persevere (Matthew 26:39). Jesus did persevere and walked boldly toward his destiny. Suffering the insults, humiliation, beating and crucifixion Jesus went to cross. It is in his persistence that we find our salvation.
Persistent Christian living is sure to bring discomfort and pain in the short term. Glory and honor soon follow.
There can be no question that persistence pays huge dividends. Our little bird will never break through the glass and will never win the battle against his own reflection but our persistence can and will pay off. The movie producer and genius behind the movie “Ten Commandments,” Cecil B. DeMille once said, “The person who makes a success of living is the one who see his goal steadily and aims for it unswervingly. That is dedication.” How true it is! Apply his maxim to your spiritual life. What would happen if everything, your job, your spouse, your children, your games, your income all took second place to your walk with the Lord? The dividends would be staggering!
Consider the men and women of Hebrews 11. After listing all these great people the writer makes 2 key points. First, these people never saw the fulfillment of God’s promises but, second, they still did not waver. They persisted in their dedication to God. They saw, by faith, the promises and aimed for them yet never actually touched them. ((Certainly they will but not in the flesh of their humanity))
You and I must persevere in our Christian walk. Let us never surrender to weakness or frustration but let us keep moving toward the goal of the “high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14).
We learn much from the little red bird wouldn’t you say? I no longer hear him striking the door. I hope the silence is because he flew away. The alternative would be sad.
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