Have you ever tried to learn a new language? You’ve mastered hello and goodbye, but then it gets complicated with sentences, verbs and tenses. Annoyingly someone always makes the cliché comment ‘don’t give up’, which never works, because we do give up – or I do anyway – I am embarrassed at how little Spanish I’ve managed to learn.
Yet, the Bible is full of people who didn’t give up and did more impressive things than learning another language (still very impressive.) Three such people are: Noah, Moses and Mary Magdalene, their stories show persistence, courage and loyalty.
Noah’s story is a great example of persistence. It’s easy to say, ‘well, of course he didn’t give up, God gave him a specific job. If God told me to build a boat I would!’ But, the size of Noah’s task was huge, the ark took over 100 years to build. Imagine 100 years of people laughing at you because you were building a ridiculous boat nowhere near the sea.
How did Noah keep going? The answer is hidden amongst all the animals marching 2-by-2, where it says that, ‘he walked with God’ (Gen 6.9) Noah listened so closely to God that it was as if they walked together as friends. Noah didn’t give up because he was close to God.
Moses’ story is a bit different. God told Moses to return to Egypt – the very place he had run away from – to face up to Pharaoh. Moses didn’t think he was up for the challenge, he wanted to give up straightaway asking, ‘who am I that I should go to Pharaoh…?’ (Ex 3.11) God knew Moses was capable because He would equip him for the job, but Moses was not convinced, “But what if they don’t believe me?” (Ex.4.1).
Moses tries to tell God that he doesn’t have any skills and God replies, “I will be with you” (Ex.3.12). It is courage and determination from God that makes Moses head back to Egypt. Moses didn’t give up, because God equips him for the job.
I want to be persistent like Noah, bold like Moses and loyal like Mary, and thankfully we can be!
Mary Magdalene’s story shows dedicated loyalty. Jesus saves her, forgives her and tells her how much she is loved. From then on she never gives up on an opportunity to serve Jesus. Mary is shunned in society for her past and ridiculed for extravagant acts of worship such as pouring expensive perfume on Jesus’ feet, but she doesn’t care. Mary didn’t give up serving because she was secure in God’s love for her.
I want to be persistent like Noah, bold like Moses and loyal like Mary, and thankfully we can be! Noah, Moses and Mary’s motivation doesn’t come from themselves, it’s their relationship with God that stops them from giving up.
God shared His plan with Noah, making him determined and focused; Moses’ courage is a result of faith in God’s strength and power and the source of Mary’s unwaveringly loyalty is Jesus’ redeeming love. If we spend time building our relationships with God, I reckon we too won’t give up.
We support people who are beaten, tortured,
imprisoned, falsely accused, and hated simply for following Jesus.