An unconscious 12-year-old boy was wheeled in to the emergency room with a stab wound to his heart. The senior medical student on duty followed the proper procedure. He checked the boy’s skin which was cold, shined a light into his eyes which showed no reaction, and hooked him up to the cardiac monitor which showed a straight line.
The medical student looked at the nurse and said, “He’s dead. Turn off the monitor.” Just then a doctor came in, felt the wound on the dead boy, grabbed a needle and stuck it into the boy’s chest. Immediately the boy’s heart began to beat. A few hours and an operation later he was mumbling and moving his legs.
The medical student later commented, “I left the room and wandered down the hall, feeling foolish and discouraged. I had pronounced a boy dead who a few seconds later was brought back to life as I watched. I gave up too soon.”
Friends, giving up too soon is a mistake many of us have made. A sports team which falls behind early in the game sometimes seems to give up, even if their ability is superior to that of their opponents. Students who do poorly on the first test of the semester sometimes give up and fail the class, when a decision to simply study harder would have earned a passing grade. Sometimes people give up too quickly in relationships. Numerous divorces could be prevented if both partners were willing to give their spouse adequate time to make some necessary changes. Sometimes parents make the tragic mistake of giving up too quickly on rebellious children. Though an 18 year old son or daughter may not want to listen to any advice from mom or dad, that attitude frequently changes within a few short years. A parent who gives up often misses an opportunity to experience a positive relationship with an adult child. As we seek to encourage others to trust and follow the Lord, it is important that we do not give up too soon. A recent study found that those who came to church because they were invited by a friend, turned down that invitation an average of three times before they finally agreed to attend. Once they attended church, the vast majority of those folks said they were glad their friends had been persistent in their invitations.
In the Bible, God encourages us not to give up too soon. Jesus tells the story of “the persistent widow,” with his goal being “to show his disciples that they should always pray and not give up. (Luke 18:1)” When someone who wrongs us apologizes for what he or she has done, we should not give up in extending forgiveness to that individual. Jesus says we should be willing to forgive them “not just seven times, but seventy times seven. (Matthew 18:22)” Though our efforts to live in a way that honors the Lord may not seem to be worth it, the Apostle Paul says, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. (Galatians 6:9)”
Yours, asking God for the grace to not give up too soon,
Rev. Dan Erickson
Senior Pastor, Chisholm Baptist Church