“I do not like that Sam I am.”
“I would not eat them here or there, I would not eat them anywhere.”
In Dr. Seuss’s book Green Eggs and Ham, an unnamed person insists that eating green eggs and ham could not and would not ever happen. Not only does he make it clear he does not want the food, he also goes as far as to “not like that Sam I am.”
The unnamed person is usually the focus of the story. After all, the story is written from his point of view. But for a moment, consider Sam. Smiling Sam. Persistent Sam. 12 times he offers the dining pleasure of green eggs and ham; 12 times he is denied. On the 13th try, Sam’s request is granted.
Persistence is the ability to carry on, to keep going, and to stay focused on your goals when they are distant or when things don’t go your way.
Persistence is a big deal and it may be the biggest skill to have in life. It takes work. It takes goal setting. It takes planning. It takes adjusting.
As a student, as an athlete, as a musician, as an employee, as a friend, as a leader....persistence is a needed trait. No toddler learns to walk without persistence. No inventor gets to the proud moment of a working product without persistence. A marriage doesn’t last with 40 years without it. No goal of any kind comes without persistence.
Persistence is also important in one’s walk in faith with Christ.
Consider Hebrews 12- “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Endurance- aka, persistence. Just like Abraham persisted in his prayers for the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, so also should our prayers be for all that we need in life. Just as Paul was able to endure shipwrecks, imprisonment and even near death beatings. He did it with faith that endures. So we pray for faith that endures and persists through all that this world and the devil throws at us.
But as the writer of Hebrews reminds us, we are not alone. We are surrounded with community- family, friends but also surrounded by the promise of spiritual witnesses. We also know that Jesus is with us always (Matt 28:20).
We are also reminded to “fix our eyes on Jesus.” Jesus is the perfect model of persistence- doing His Father’s will, fixed on the goal, executing the goal.
As we finish the school year and begin to focus on new goals, let’s be persistent on the one thing needful and look forward to God’s continued care for all we need.