“Why bother, it’s not working, just quit. Why waist your time on them, you aren’t getting anywhere, give up and try working with someone more responsive.” These are comments that I’ve heard concerning individuals who seem like they are unresponsive to truth, to correction, or to the gospel. However consider Jeremiah who declares that for 23 years, in the face of constant rejection of his message, he continued to speak the word of the Lord. Jeremiah 25:3 “this is the twenty-third year in which the word of the LORD has come to me; and I have spoken to you, rising early and speaking, but you have not listened.”
Are we that consistent and persistent? It is easy to quit working with people because there seems like “no point” in continuing as nothing is ever going to change. It is true that we may reach out to individuals, we may share truth or extend extra mercy to them, and nothing may come about as a consequence. However, isn’t it good to know that we have done our part, that we haven’t quit “too soon”. We are exhorted to “be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” (1 Cor. 15:58)
Who in your life seems unresponsive or unchanging? Who do you want to quit working with? Who do you no longer have the patience and gentleness that God would want you to have for that individual? Who have you “written off” as being not worth of your effort? If in the Old Testament Jeremiah could be persistent for 23 years, then surely now in the New Testament, with the living power of our Lord Jesus and the Holy Spirit upon us we can exercise similar patience and longsuffering.
Lord Jesus, help us to be patient and longsuffering with all individuals, as you are patient and longsuffering with us.
This is excellent Keith. Thank you!
The blog postings of June 12 and 14 have been somewhat timely to consider and challenging for their interpretation and application. Patience and long suffering toward a people group with whom there is no familial or relational connection is commendable and hopeful. However within the bounds of relationship, to learn that the one is like unto the fool described in the Proverbs, the practice of these characteristics become questionable. In particular Proverbs 13:20b. Who then would be the greater fool?
The heart and motive is always the key thing. We always need to be careful that our heart is consistent with the heart of God when we are responding to and relating to those around us. Not every relationship is workable, nor is it wise to be in every situation, but we should always have the right heart towards the people around us. always wanting to see the best happen, even if we are not able to it about.