Numbers 11:4-6, The rabble who were among them had greedy desires; and also the sons of Israel wept again and said, “Who will give us meat to eat? We remember the fish which we used to eat free in Egypt, the cucumbers and the melons and the leeks and the onions and the garlic, but now our appetite is gone. There is nothing at all to look at except this manna.”
10-15, Now Moses heard the people weeping throughout their families, each man at the doorway of his tent; and the anger of the LORD was kindled greatly, and Moses was displeased. So Moses said to the LORD, “Why have You been so hard on Your servant? And why have I not found favor in Your sight, that You have laid the burden of all this people on me? Was it I who conceived all this people? Was it I who brought them forth, that You should say to me, ‘Carry them in your bosom as a nurse carries a nursing infant, to the land which You swore to their fathers’? Where am I to get meat to give to all this people? For they weep before me, saying, ‘Give us meat that we may eat!’ I alone am not able to carry all this people, because it is too burdensome for me. So if You are going to deal thus with me, please kill me at once, if I have found favor in Your sight, and do not let me see my wretchedness.”
1 Corinthians 16:8-9, But I will remain in Ephesus until Pentecost; for a wide door for effective service has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.
Staying When Quitting Is Easier
Coastwatcher Donald McFarland fled to the hills when the Japanese invaded Guadalcanal in 1942. Pursued, he receded deeper into the jungle and higher into the mountains. He had been ordered to remain in place because the Navy needed his intelligence reports on Japanese ship movements.
On July 28, 1942, he wrote to another coastwatcher that Japanese patrols sniffed dangerously close to his lair and he didn’t intend to stay until the tiger pounced. “But of course, he stayed,” Walter Lord wrote. “every once in a while a man discovers he can go beyond the limits he sets for himself . . .” His self-set deadline for leaving came, went, and found him in place. “We’ll hang on a few more days,” he wrote his friend again. “I suppose we must have faith.”
Serving Jesus in any capacity sometimes becomes burdensome. Immovable obstacles prevent growth, or people clamor for growth but refuse to change the traditions that prevent growth, or leaders with Diotrephes complex resist change. At such a time Jesus may want us to remain in place when we would rather move, to stay and offer solutions. He may ask teachers to keep Bible school classes they consider tiresome. He may ask lay leaders to remain in positions that have no future. Can we resist our heavenly Lord when others obey a secular ruler? Isn’t the awareness of His devotion to us, despite our ingratitude, enough to motivate us to serve Him, despite the difficulty?
Courtesy of Speaker’s Sourcebook of New Illustrations by Virgil Hurley copyright © 1995 by Word, Incorporated. Used by permission.
*Unless otherwise noted, Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.
The perseverance of the saints is only possible because of the perseverance of God. – J. Oswald Sanders
Great works are performed not by strength but by perseverance. – Samuel Johnson
He that perseveres makes every difficulty an advancement and every contest a victory. – Charles Caleb Colton
A tree is shown by its fruits, and in the same way those who profess to belong to Christ will be seen by what they do. For what is needed is not mere present professions, but perseverance to the end in the power of faith. – St Ignatius of Antioch