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Your Endurance Quotient

For nearly twenty years I annually attended a particular leadership conference. It was typically a highlight for me.

The emphasis was usually to help get pastors and leaders to try some different things, stretching some different muscles, maybe thinking about organizational leadership and methodologies from another angle.

But here’s a reality check: what happens when you do all those things, those new ideas, that new way of approaching leadership—but it doesn’t go the way you thought it would? Or you sense that even though you’ve done pretty well at keeping up with your spiritual rhythms at a personal level, the season you’re in seems dry and void of that mysterious “presence” you once felt. Or maybe there were expectations of growth and effectiveness that didn’t measure up in reality. Or perhaps you experienced external forces that made leading difficult.

Many of us were a little shocked when parts of the diary of Mother Teresa was published in 2007. Here was a woman who had a serious devotional life and a servanthood capacity that was off the charts.

And yet, she expressed decades of not sensing the presence of Jesus like she had in earlier years, as when she felt personally called by God to move to India to begin her work.


When Jesus began to teach some hard points about how people must respond to him, it reads in John chapter 6 that many of his disciples turned away and deserted him.

When Jesus turned to his twelve closest friends and asked, “Are you going to leave, too?” Simon Peter replied, “Lord, to whom would we go? You alone have the words that give eternal life.” JOHN 6:66–68 NEW LIVING TRANSLATION

The apostle Paul—writer of nearly two-thirds of the New Testament—had his own dark nights of the soul, his own cloud of unknowing. During one of his missionary trips, things went so badly that he writes to the church in Corinth:

We don’t want you in the dark, friends, about how hard it was when all this came down on us in Asia province. It was so bad we didn’t think we were going to make it. We felt like we’d been sent to death row, that it was all over for us. As it turned out, it was the best thing that could have happened. Instead of trusting in our own strength or wits to get out of it, we were forced to trust God totally—not a bad idea since he’s the God who raises the dead! 2 CORINTHIANS 1:8–9 MESSAGE VERSION

That last verse is powerful. Even inspirational.

But only after you’ve been through hell. Don’t tell me “all things work for the good” when the worst case scenario is happening. Let me get that revelation on my own…because you’re not walking in my Nikes right now.

Some day when you’re amped up on your Zoloft, read Ecclesiastes. It’s not for the faint-hearted, but it’s one person’s view of the way the world seems to roll. At one point, the writer says: “I have seen something else under the sun: The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong…” ECCLESIASTES 9:11a NIV

Perhaps, like Paul, the primary goal is to finish. He sums it up neatly in a remarkable little letter written—and keep this in mind—from prison.

Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back. So let’s keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. PHILIPPIANS 3:8–17 MESSAGE VERSION

There’s something to be said about endurance…about simply putting one foot in front of the other. When you don’t know how many more steps you can take, just take one. Don’t give up.

Many of you have been through some tough stuff.

Don’t give up.

Dave Workman | The Elemental Group

…Let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from start to finish. HEBREWS 12:1B–2A NEW LIVING TRANSLATION


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