Thursday, July 28, 2011

Keep Pushing the Harvest Is Just Ahead

As a young man I had the opportunity to coach for the late W.L. Varner, one of the legends of high school football in the state of South Carolina. Six years of coaching under his leadership resulted in four conference championships, two upper state championships and one state championship. Following my departure, his teams won three more consecutive state championships. The secret to his success was not simply great athletes. In fact the number of truly great athletes were few. His secret was the ability to take good athletes and to convince them that they were great athletes.

Coach Varner expected greatness and he kept that possibility before his players and coaches at all times. He did not tolerate negative thinking. He expected players and coaches to always anticipate winning. Our dressing room walls were covered with game axioms that helped illustrate what it took to be a winner. One of my favorite was, “It is not how hard you get knocked down; it is how fast you get up that counts”.

That is one of the great things about athletics. If you lose a game, there is always the next game that demands your attention. You can not dwell on past failures or past accomplishments. You must concentrate on the things in front of you. If you keep getting up after being knocked down, eventually good things will happen. Even, if the scoreboard does not reflect that you are a winner, you can know you are a winner in your heart, because you did not give up. You continued to give your best and develop your skills to their maximum capacity. No one could ask for you to do more.

There is a spiritual parallel to the athletic axiom above. Paul wrote: “And let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we shall reap if we do not grow weary” (Galatians 6:9 NASV). Too many people believe that a person’s spiritual health can be judged by the absence of difficulty in their life. The scripture does not support this type of thinking. In fact, the scripture is clear that Christians should expect difficulties. The good news is that Christ provides the strength for believers to live above their difficulties. After listing a long list of difficulties, Paul wrote these words: “But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.” (Romans 8:37 NASB)

Unfortunately, many do not understand these truths. They devote themselves to spiritual things for a season, expecting all of their troubles to disappear. When they don’t receive the desired results they give up and revert back to their former ways. As a result, they fail to reap the harvest that God promises.

If you happen to be in a spiritual dry place, if your efforts for Christ seem to have not benefited you, if you are ready to throw in the towel and to call it quits, let me encourage you to hang in there. God is always true to His word. His word says, “for in due time we shall reap if we do not grow weary”. Your harvest may be just ahead of you. Until it comes, remember that Christ will give you the strength to live victoriously in your present circumstance, if you will only appropriate the grace He makes available.

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