Sermons

Summary: We all resemble the Israelites in this respect. Although we have experienced tremendous proof of God’s steadfast care and his blessings beyond our imagining in many cases, our ability to rest our will and control in God waivers.

Last week, we discussed the first aspect of developing the quality of Tenacity - Connection. Over the course of the next three weeks we will be discussing three other aspects of the tenacity.

The definition of the word is: the quality or fact of being able to grip something firmly; the quality or fact of being very determined; the quality or fact of continuing to exist; persistence.

As parenting expert, Sue Atkins writes: “We live in a culture that celebrates overnight successes – as they’ve seen billionaire tech entrepreneurs like Mark Zuckerman, Jeff Bezos and YouTube sensations take the world by storm overnight.

People need to hear about how Harry Potter author J.K Rowling was rejected by 12 publishers before getting her first book published , how Walt Disney was fired from the Kansas City Star newspaper because his editor felt he “lacked imagination and had no good ideas” or how Thomas Edison’s teachers told him he was “too stupid to learn anything” yet after that he went on to hold more than 1,000 patents and invented some world-changing devices, like the electric bulb after 1,000 unsuccessful attempts. They need to ponder Michelangelo taking 4 years to paint the Sistine Chapel or the Egyptians taking 20 to build one pyramid.”

If you were going to point to the most tenacious person you know? Who would that be?

<Personal example>

Tenacity is probably one of the most admirable characters a person can possess. It’s the ability to be determined to do, or achieve, regardless of any setbacks

During the pandemic, we have all had setbacks and suffered:

some financially - over 25% unemployment at one point.

some emotionally - there have been a huge increase in suicides, homicides and overdoses

some relationally - divorces and separations have increased. Abuse of children and spouses is higher than a year ago

Most of us spiritually - Netflix will never renew your soul. You can’t watch enough. Delivery services will never give you enough food or alcohol. All of which have increased usage over a year ago.

However, some have not only survived but thrived. They didn’t crumble. They:

took stock of the situation,

came before God,

analyzed their role

and consciously began to work on those items they had some personal control over.

In her book, Celebrate Joy! Velma Seawell Daniels gives a striking new meaning to this familiar phrase. She tells of interviewing a man who had made a trip to Alaska to visit people who live above the Arctic Circle. "Never ask an Eskimo how old he is," the man said. "If you do, he will say, "I don’t know and I don’t care." And he doesn’t. One of them told me that, and I pressed him a bit further. When I asked him the second time, he said, "Almost - that’s all." That still wasn’t good enough for me, so I asked him "Almost what?" and he said, "Almost one day." Mrs. Daniels asked him if he could figure out what the Eskimo meant. He answered that he did but only after talking to another man who had lived in the Arctic Circle for about twenty years. "He was a newspaperman who had written a book about the Eskimos and their customs and beliefs. He said the Eskimos believe that when they go to sleep at night they die - that they are dead to the world. Then, when they wake up in the morning, they have been resurrected and are living a new life. Therefore, no Eskimo is more than one day old. So, that is what the Eskimo meant when he said he was ‘almost’ a day old. The day wasn’t over yet." "Life above the Arctic Circle is harsh and cruel, and mere survival becomes a major accomplishment," he explained. "But, you never see an Eskimo who seems worried or anxious. They have learned to face one day at a time." Have you learned how to put worry and anxiety aside and live one day at a time? Today is the first day of the rest of your life.

The Eskimo story emphasizes one of the greatest aspects to tenacity: knowing who is in control and what’s our role. This is so easy to say and so hard to live.

Consider the Israelites, newly freed from slavery and heading toward the land God promised. When they worried about their enemies, God parted the sea to give them victory. When they worried about food, God made manna fall at their feet in the desert. When they worried about water, God caused it to flow from a rock. Yet, despite God’s miraculous provisions again and again, the Israelites’ hearts wavered with fears and doubts again and again, never fully resting in the knowledge that God will provide. “Jehovah Jirah”

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