Summary: Overcome discouragement when you redirect your energies, refocus your vision, and rally together.
A man stopped to watch a Little League baseball game and asked one of the youngsters, “What’s the score?”
“We're losing 18-0,” was the answer.
“Well,” said the man. “I must say you don't look discouraged.”
“Discouraged?” the boy said, puzzled. “Why should we be discouraged? We haven't come to bat yet.” (Stan Toler, God Has Never Failed Me, but He's Sure Scared Me to Death a Few Times, Honor Books, 1995; www.PreachingToday.com)
I like that boy’s attitude. He refuses to be discouraged no matter how bad it gets.
So how can we adopt a similar attitude? How can we keep from getting discouraged in the work God has called us to do? For as we pray for revival and seek to restore God’s reputation in our land, we’re going to face set-backs that can discourage us; we’re going to be tempted to give up at times for various reasons. So How do we keep from growing weary and giving up before we reap the benefits of our labor for the Lord?
Well, if you have your Bibles, I invite you to turn with me to Nehemiah 4, Nehemiah 4, where we see how Nehemiah battled discouragement in his day. He was rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem to restore God’s reputation in the area, and the people were getting discouraged.
Nehemiah 4:10 In Judah it was said, “The strength of those who bear the burdens is failing. There is too much rubble. By ourselves we will not be able to rebuild the wall.” (ESV)
They started off so enthusiastically. Now, they’re ready to quit. What happened? Well, they simply got tired. Their strength was failing. Literally, their strength was stumbling. It was tottering. It was staggering, getting ready to fall, and that’s what happens when we get tired. We get discouraged.
So, in your work for the Lord, don’t let fatigue get you down. Don’t let busyness overwhelm you so that you lose your strength.
Pastor and author John Ortberg writes: “Not long after moving to Chicago, I called a wise friend to ask for some spiritual direction. I described the pace of life in my current ministry. The church where I serve tends to move at a fast clip. I also told him about our rhythms of family life: we are in the van-driving, soccer-league, piano-lesson, school-orientation-night years. I told him about the present condition of my heart, as best I could discern it. What did I need to do,” Ortberg asked his friend, “to be spiritually healthy?”
Then Ortberg’s friend told him, “You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life.”
Another long pause.
“Okay, I've written that one down,” Ortberg told him, a little impatiently. “That's a good one. Now, what else is there?” Ortberg had many things to do, and this was a long-distance call, so he was anxious to cram as many units of spiritual wisdom into the least amount of time possible.
Another long pause.
“There is nothing else,” Ortberg’s friend said. “You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life.”