Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such hostility against himself from sinners, so that you may not grow weary or lose heart. – Hebrews 12:1-3
Other than the Bible, I don’t use a lot of quotes when I write.
One reason is I’d rather say something myself, then another is the inherent unreliability of attributions. I could easily assemble an entire book of pithy sayings titled, “Cool Things it Turns Out Mother Teresa Didn’t Really Say.” Another could cover, “Stuff People Think Churchill Said But Actually Didn’t.”
I fell into that trap Sunday morning, writing the following “Winston Churchill quote” on the board for the opening discussion: “Success is not final; failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts.”
“Success is not final; failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts.”
I’d been given the words, handwritten on a piece of torn paper, the day before. It sure sounded like something Winston Churchill would say. Then I decided to use it in a couple of presentations this week, including this blog. Naturally, I did some research and none other than The International Churchill Society at WinstonChurchill.org (backslash publications backslash MediaMatters) debunked the association.
Still, it remains an amazingly inspirational quote, and I love the association that comes to mind with living as a disciple. And – sadly – it reminds me how antithetical to following Jesus much of religion really is. Because the courage to continue is where the rubber meets the road and so many of us just don’t have the conviction, or the staying power, or the faithfulness, or the vision to hang in there when the road gets rough.
The Courage to Continue:
I’m building a little here from yesterday’s post about the (troubling) prosperity gospel. So much of the way we approach life asks for instant reward, gets discouraged too quickly, and moves on to the next vaguely attractive alternative rather than seeing things through.
- Success: Being a disciple of Jesus involves success – only never final but part of our continuing journey, forward, along the road (The Way)…
- Failure: And being a disciple involves failure – but setbacks are never fatal to the cause or to our faith. We are human beings, deeply flawed and engaging with a broken world, so our victories always come served with a huge side order of frustration, and learning, and human foibles and more.
- Courage: But the thing that counts, always, is the courage to continue – keeping our eyes on Jesus, the author and the sustainer of our faith.
Jesus is God’s invitation. When we chose to follow we must ask for the courage to be faithful. Because it is not an easy road but a challenging and often treacherous climb.
– You can quote me on that! – DEREK