The fruit of perseverance
By Max Sahl | Wycliffe Today June 2020 |
When I think of the phrase ‘fruit of perseverance’ it is easy to remember translators like Warren and Jessie and others who have served in the work of Bible translation in multiple countries for over 50 years.
But what do you say to a group of young people who are just taking their first steps on the journey of Bible translation? This was the question on my mind as I prepared to speak to a gathering of young translators in South Asia recently. Just to get to their training, many of the students had already given up so much. One student had missed the birth of his first child, and another had cut short his honeymoon. All of them had left families and responsibilities and forsaken other opportunities to be there.
To encourage them in their ministry, I shared two stories about Jesus and perseverance from the Gospels. Firstly, in Matthew 4:8-10, the devil takes Jesus to a very high mountain and offers him all the kingdoms of the world. Yet Jesus understands that his earthly mission is to ‘worship the Lord your God and serve him only’. Perseverance means understanding your mission and not getting distracted.
Secondly, in Mark 10:29-30, Jesus explains to his disciples that the fruit of perseverance is worth it. For the students in South Asia, Jesus had a special message, ‘No one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age’. Eternal life awaits them in the age to come but the road will not be easy.
Let us also run the race with perseverance, throwing off distractions and fixing our eyes on Jesus and our eternal reward.
Eyes on the prize!
By Lyn Wake | Wycliffe Today June 2020 |
What motivates and enables our members around the world to keep persevering through problems, pressures and yes, pandemics? The secret is out … they have their eyes on ‘the prize’! When the Apostle Paul wrote to the early believers about running for the ‘prize’, what did he have in mind?
- The prize is a place: Jesus promised to prepare a place for us in paradise. Then, after his return, he will create a whole new heaven and earth for us! (John 14:1-4; Luke 23:43 and Revelation 21:1)
- The prize is a party: Jesus’ wedding parable teaches us that everyone is invited to share in the Father’s friendship, feasting and festivities forever! (Matthew 22:1-4 & Revelation 19:6-9)
- The prize is a presence: the indwelling of the Holy Spirit now, and the not yet experienced promise of God dwelling in the midst of his people, is the glorious prize offered to all who believe! (John 14:15-17 & Revelation 21:3)
- The prize is eternal pleasure: I imagine the pleasure God will receive as he bestows the crown of life upon his beloved for their faithful perseverance. What great pleasure it will be for us when we are finally together as one family! (James 1:12 & Revelation 22:4)
- The prize is a person: Jesus Christ himself! There may be many ‘good’ prizes to aim for in this life, but he alone is worth it all! (Colossians 1)
We need more perseverance than we naturally possess to win the prize.
Perseverance is an essential quality of faith and a gift from God. Paul and the New Testament writers used the Greek word hupomeno to convey what faith requires: steadfastly remaining when others have departed, boldly bearing up under pressure, patiently enduring through suffering, and continuing on with vibrant hope.
Friends, if there ever was a time we needed a good dose of hupomeno, it is now! Through every painful predicament life can bring, Jesus provides the model, motivation and means for us to persevere. So until he comes, eyes on the prize!
How can we fix our eyes more firmly on Jesus and experience God-given perseverance by the gift of his Spirit?
Be transformed by the Word by engaging with:
Psalm 84 and Hebrews 12:1-12