Determination leads to the goal
What do a widow seeking justice and a mountaineer have in common? Both need determination to reach their goal. Christians too need to be persistent in order to prepare adequately for the return of Christ.
The perseverance of mountaineers
Fiona wants to hike up to the top of a mountain. It is going to require effort and endurance. Provisions, a sleeping bag for the hut, and rain gear are all in her backpack. The first few hundred metres in the valley are not difficult. Fiona is motivated and full of strength. She can see the peak and is determined to reach it.
The steeper the climb gets, the more toughness and tenacity are called for. Fiona needs to take a few breaks. These are not signs of weakness. On the contrary, without them Fiona will not have enough strength to reach the summit.
After a while Fiona sees other, less ambitious hikers glide past her in the cable car. They will reach the summit long before she does. It upsets her and she thinks about giving up, but then forces herself to keep going. Every time she gets cold or breaks out in a sweat, she is on the verge of giving up. Don’t let up now, she keeps telling herself.
The climb to the summit is steep and challenging. Fiona has to be patient. It is taking her longer than expected. One morning as she woke up in the alpine hut, the weather was bad. She headed out anyway, but poor visibility forced her to turn back.
The closer Fiona gets to the summit, the less strength she has, but the more urgent her wish is to finally reach the summit. Doggedly she climbs the last few metres. Then, at last, she can see the summit cross. With the last ounce of strength she climbs the last metres, despite burning muscles and shortness of breath.
She made it! Fiona is exhilarated and enjoys the magnificent view. It was worth all the effort.
The perseverance of the widow seeking justice
The widow in the familiar parable also finally saw her perseverance pay off. She had kept pestering the judge until the man was so annoyed by her constant badgering that he relented and helped her. He did not do it because he feared God or for moral reasons. The woman’s persistence alone made him change his mind.
Jesus told this parable after He had talked about the coming of the kingdom of God (Luke 17: 20–37). He urged His disciples to persevere in preparing for His return and not to become slack.
Perseverance in faith
Showing perseverance on the path of faith leads to the goal. The prospects are eternal fellowship with God. All we need to do is to persevere
- in prayer,
- in doing good,
- in faith, hope, and love, and
- in resisting the devil.
How much more than an unjust judge will God not avenge those who cry out to Him day and night. And is the prospect of being with God forever not even more beautiful than the view a mountaineer can enjoy at the end of her tour?
The Bible study service in November was based on Luke 18: 2–3: “There was in a certain city a judge who did not fear God nor regard man. Now there was a widow in that city; and she came to him, saying, ‘Get justice for me from my adversary.’ And he would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, ‘Though I do not fear God nor regard man, yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me’” (Luke 18: 1–8). The message of the service urged us to persistently pray for the coming of the kingdom of God.
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Divine service, Doctrinal instruction