“Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.” (Romans 12:11)
God longs for us to know him intimately and make him known to others.
Throughout the Gospels, Christ challenges us to accomplish this by a life of faithful “following” after him. In order to give us a clear visual of what this type of obedience looks like, he inspired Luke to record details of the apostle Paul’s ministry in the book of Acts. Clearly Paul was a man who recognized that unwavering perseverance was essential for God’s mandate to be fulfilled.
While Paul was in Corinth, “he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and tried to persuade Jews and Greeks” (Acts 18:4). He didn’t wave a magic wand and effortlessly manufacture an assortment of converts to his side. Obedience to the Father’s will required persistence and demanded sacrifice.
Saint Paul was eloquent, intelligent, and educated. Jesus called him to a daring assignment through a blinding light on the road to Damascus. Still, Paul had to keep showing up in the synagogue week after week, “trying to persuade” those who were not too thrilled with his message.
Sharing the Gospel took an enormous amount of time, energy, and effort for the apostle, with no guarantee of success. Why, then, are we so easily discouraged when our efforts appear to produce dismal returns? The faithful Christian walk requires a costly investment, and God alone tallies the victories.
Paul’s perseverance reminds us that we must continue doing the Father’s work, even when the results do not appear, from our limited perspective, to be favorable.