The late novelist, Irving Stone, studied the lives of some of the greatest and most interesting characters in history, and he wrote biographical novels about them—people like Vincent van Gogh, Michelangelo, and Abraham Lincoln. Here is what Mr. Stone concluded after many years of research into some of the greatest men and women who lived.
I write about people who sometime in their life have a vision or dream of something that should be accomplished, and then they go to work. They are beaten over the head, knocked down, vilified, and for years they get nowhere. But every time they’re knocked down they stand up. You cannot destroy these people. And at the end of their lives they’ve accomplished some modest part of what they set out to do.
That’s a good description of perseverance. That’s what we need at the beginning of every New Year. In His great wisdom, God placed us a planet that orbits the sun one time every 365 days; so once a year we come back to the starting place, as it were. We make a little list, either mentally or written, of ways to improve ourselves. These are our “New Year’s Resolutions.” Of course, a good many of our resolutions don’t last very far beyond New Year’s Day because we lack perseverance. What we all need this New Year is a spirit of personal perseverance.
–From this coming Sunday’s sermon on the background, theme, and outline of the book of Hebrews; but appropriate for today too. May the Lord give you a New Year full of persevering grace!
[i] Irving Stone, quoted in Pat Williams and Jim Denney, Go for the Magic (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1995), 175-176.