Persistence is a Virtue

Persistence is a Virtue

Persistence is a Virtue   Luke 18:1-8         2 Timothy 4:1-5

A couple years ago one of our church members shared with me a quote that Stan Wawrinka, a Swiss tennis player, had tattooed on his forearm.  It is from Samuel Beckett and it says, “Ever tried, ever failed. No matter. Fail again. Fail better.”  The quote is a reminder to the hard-working tennis star to keep trying and not give up, even though he knows he is not going to win every match.  The last line of the quote is also a reminder to learn from your mistakes.  “Fail better”  it says.  Grow from what you did wrong then try again.

Persistence is a theme in the readings from Scripture this Sunday.  First there is the advice that Timothy is given as a young leader in the church as he is told, “proclaim the message; be persistent whether the time is favorable or unfavorable; convince, rebuke, and encourage, with the utmost patience in teaching.”

Then Jesus tells a story about a widow who keeps going back to a judge asking for justice.  The judge finally relents, not because he is such a nice guy, but rather because the widow has been persistent.  The judge is so annoyed by her asking that he gives in. Jesus seems to be lifting up persistence as a value that can be important in our relationship with God as he says, “will not God grant justice to his chosen ones who cry to him day and night?”   

How do we stay persistent as we pursue the life of faith?  How do we keep praying when it doesn’t seem our prayers are being answered?  Can we stay true to Christ whether the time is favorable or unfavorable?  Does knowing we are forgiven give us the freedom to fail and fail again, but eventually “fail better?”

-Pastor Erik Goehner