For you need endurance, so that after you have done God’s will you can receive what he has promised.  — Hebrews 10:36 (ISV)

In The Finishing Touch, author and Bible teacher Chuck Swindoll tells about a remarkable man he once met who profoundly impressed him. “With a grin and a twinkle, he whipped out his hand. It was a hand you could strike a match on, toughened by decades of rugged toil. ‘You look like a man who enjoys life. What do you do for a living?’ I asked. ‘Me? Well, I’m a farmer from back in the Midwest.’ I then asked him, ‘What did you do last week?’ He said, ‘Last week I finished harvesting ninety thousand bushels of corn.’ I then blurted out, ‘Ninety thousand! How old are you, my friend?’ He didn’t seem at all hesitant or embarrassed by my question. ‘I’m just a couple of months shy of ninety.’ He laughed again as I shook my head. He had lived through four wars, the Great Depression, sixteen presidents, ninety Midwest winters, who knows how many personal hardship, and he was still taking life by the throat. I had to ask him the secret of his long and productive life. ‘Hard work and integrity’ was his quick reply. As we parted company he looked back over his shoulder and added, ‘Don’t take it easy, young feller. Stay at it!’ Hard work and integrity! Those two qualities go together, and are the essence of a life well-lived. And when you practice them faithfully, you experience the highest level of joy and fulfillment in life.” Moreover, note the old farmer’s last word of advice: “Don’t take it easy, (….) Stay at it!” What a recipe for a successful life in a nutshell: hard work equals diligence. Integrity equals honesty. “Don’t take it easy” equals self-discipline. “Stay at it!” equals endurance. In sharp contrast to our “throw in the towel” modern culture, the writer of Hebrews urged: “For you need endurance, so that after you have done God’s will you can receive what he has promised.” The word for you today is “endurance.”


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