Sermons

Summary: It is not how you start but how you finish that counts the most

Perseverance: A Key to Finishing Strong

Nehemiah 6:1-19

Rodeo Road Baptist Church

October 5, 2014

Disclaimer: Each sermon in this series on Nehemiah was written with both commentary help and referencing from time to time information from sermons and illustration found on Sermon Central. In most cases I tried to be faithful in giving credit to the author but I acknowledge that I was not consistent in that endeavor. So any similarity to other older posted sermons on this web site are due in part to the quality of their work and the timelessness of the truth they shared originally. There was no intentional intent to use without credit any material in these sermons that were first delivered by other pastors.

Introduction

The difference between histories boldest accomplishments and its most staggering failures is often simply the diligent will to persevere.

Betty Killebrew: To augment his schoolteacher salary, for a number of years, back when corner stores were better known than supermarkets, my dad filled in as a grocery store clerk at one of the larger such stores in our community.

My mother suffered from several different chronic illnesses. As the years passed, they grew worse, even as a total of five children were born in the family. We all lived in a house with only four rooms, a circumstances I’m sure was shared by many of our neighbors in those post depression and war years. Perhaps, however, some of those families had more ready cash than we did. Even though Dad usually taught all day and worked at the grocery all evening, with all the medical expenses we incurred, there wasn’t enough money for us to own a car. Dad hitched rides to school with other teachers during most of his teaching career. There was a bus he occasionally rode to and from the grocery store, but many times he saved the dime by riding the distance of around four miles to and from his extra job on his bike.

He used to take me to town on Saturday mornings and one place I loved to go was the junk yard. Dad was always working on bikes for one of us kids and he would scavenge the junk yard for parts. One time, however, he incurred my mother’s wrath by taking me with him to a pool hall. Mom didn’t think much of pool hall.

Some years later, after the grocery closed, Dad worked as the night manager of a pool hall for a year or two. Mother never did like that. She thought that as a schoolteacher, Dad was compromising his integrity by working in such a den of inequity.

I was always proud that my father was a well-respected man. I used to think being a teacher made him a special kind of person, but today I realize that the most special thing about him was not his career, but the way he persevered. The mantel of respect always falls on those who consistently do their duty, and that’s what my father did.

Read more: http://www.inspirationalarchive.com/6747/he-did-his-duty/#ixzz3FB2yPEsW

I. What can keep you and I from finishing strong?

a. Distraction

Nehemiah 6:1-4 Now when Sanballat and Tobiah and Geshem the Arab and the rest of our enemies heard that I had built the wall and that there was no breach left in it (although up to that time I had not set up the doors in the gates), Sanballat and Geshem sent to me, saying, "Come and let us meet together at Hakkephirim in the plain of Ono." But they intended to do me harm. And I sent messengers to them, saying, "I am doing a great work and I cannot come down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and come down to you?" And they sent to me four times in this way, and I answered them in the same manner.

An earlier estimate by Salary.com put the amount of productivity lost to employees' non-sanctioned Web surfing at $759 billion a year.

Humans specialize in distraction, especially when the task at hand requires intellectual heavy lifting. But in the era of e-mail, instant messaging, Googling, e-commerce and iTunes, potential distractions while seated at a computer are not only ever-present but also very enticing. Distracting oneself use to consist of sharpening a half-dozen pencils or sipping coffee. Today, there is a universe of diversions to buy, hear, watch and forward, which makes focusing on a task all the more challenging.

Nehemiah’s Response: No, I am doing a great work!

b. Detraction

Nehemiah 6:5-9 In the same way Sanballat for the fifth time sent his servant to me with an open letter in his hand. In it was written, "It is reported among the nations, and Geshem also says it, that you and the Jews intend to rebel; that is why you are building the wall. And according to these reports you wish to become their king. And you have also set up prophets to proclaim concerning you in Jerusalem, 'There is a king in Judah.' And now the king will hear of these reports. So now come and let us take counsel together." Then I sent to him, saying, "No such things as you say have been done, for you are inventing them out of your own mind." For they all wanted to frighten us, thinking, "Their hands will drop from the work, and it will not be done." But now, O God, strengthen my hands.

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