Saturday, 9 April 2011

Keep plodding

Another year rolls round, and I inevitably recall one of my most memorable days, the 125-mile 1998 Devizes to Westminster ("DW") canoe marathon. I can't imagine I will ever see "April 10th" approaching on the calendar and not remember that day.

One reason I won't forget it is because of some of the lessons I learnt along the way.

One of those lessons is, keep plodding on. If you keep moving forward, then the end will keep getting closer, and must at some point eventually arrive. There's hurt; there's trouble; but nothing worthwhile is achieved in either the world or the kingdom without going through those barriers. Those who raise mind over matter will get the medal; those who do not, won't. In most walks of life, there are lots of people who are less talented, but who get their anyway because they refuse to believe they are defeated. Talent is a great blessing, but determination can make up for a lot. Simple observation teaches us this useful truth.

Some people are more determined by nature than others. They have been blessed by God with an extra measure of this grace from birth. But in every Christian, we should be growing in our focus and resolve year by year. Self-control is a fruit of the Spirit; the ability to take ourselves in hand and say "I will make sure I see this through" is a blessing we can seek and expect to grow in if we walk rightly. Whether in pursuits that only have value in this life, or ones with eternal value, to lack resolve is the road to failure. Because Christ is risen, we are not doomed to fail in the areas of life that he gives us opportunities to do something beneficial in. Despite a thousand setbacks and disappointments, God remains the God who raises the dead and does the impossible. In the work of the gospel in Kenya, the task to be done is absolutely immense and our resources in ourselves are nothing. But God can do anything, and our job is to plod on and trust him.

Perhaps someone thinks that the connection between canoeing and gospel preaching is tenuous. Not at all; God made every part of human life. He teaches us many things in different ways. I learnt in a very practical way from my canoeing and my coach that patience and determination open many doors to us that are otherwise closed. That's a lesson I hope I'll be able to use for the kingdom. How about you?

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