Mom my tells a story about me when I was about 7 or 8 months of age. She’d put me in my highchair and went about her task in the kitchen. It wasn’t long until I was unhappy about sitting in my highchair and I did what any child who’s discontent with their current situation would do: I crawled out onto a shrunk that had a hutch on it. To my dismay, every time I tried to sit up, the hutch prevented me from achieving the upright position I so desperately wanted to attain. At this point in the story my mom is always laughing and then goes on to tell me, “You had tenacity. You wouldn’t give up and thought you were going to make that hutch give way to your demands.” Apparently, I was pretty vocal throughout the whole process. Mom says that particular memory often would replay in her mind during various times of adversity in my life and she knew that tenacity was God-given.
Recently I heard two different pastors share their views about the prophet Elisha. I wanted to share with you some of the things that I gleaned from those sermons that have changed my view of serving Christ with tenacity.
The first thing that stuck out was Elisha’s request for a double portion of Elijah’s spirit. Now that request takes tenacity! Elisha didn’t care if he ruffled Elijah’s feathers. Elisha wasn’t content with the same miracles Elijah had preformed. He wanted more—the best! He was unashamedly asking for the best. I wonder how many times we’ve settled for the norm when all the while, if we’d just asked the Lord, He would have granted our petition.
One of the phrases I love the most (and I’ve wonder why it’s not been taken out of context and marketed to couples) is Elisha’s reply to Elijah: “As surely as the LORD lives and as you live, I will not leave you.” Elisha had tenacity! Elijah tells him three times that the Lord had sent him to another town, and he tells Elisha, “Stay here.” But Elisha, in his tenacity, says, “Nope! I’m going with you.” Elisha knew that God would soon be calling Elijah home, and Elisha wasn’t going to miss it or any other miracle God did through his mentor.
Elisha was a significant servant. The special thing about a significant servant is that they pass it (blessings) on. They realize they’re only on this earth for a very short period of time, so they pass those blessings on to others. Significant, faithful servants are people who teach other significant, faithful people who will then pass it on to more significant, faithful people.
Often we don’t see miracles because we give up too early. I remember early on in our adoption process when things seemed at a gridlock and the agency urged us to just give up on Teagan and find another child to adopt. We had tenacity and were determined whatever it took, we were going to fight to get the one we knew God had placed in our hearts to adopt. It wasn’t about just adopting any child. God had told us to go get her and we knew He would work it out even though the situation seemed hopeless. How often do we as Christians miss God’s prize because we give up too early? We have the faith to go one mile and we feel that’s plenty of service for the Lord. However, we give up—quit!—when the desired end seems impossible. We want to see the miracles in, through, and around us, but we want them without paying the price of serving with tenacity. It’s these opportunities of serving Christ that stretch and grow faith.
One of my favorite Bible passages is Hebrews 11. It’s often called the “Hall of Faith” chapter. You can read down the list of God’s servants who served Him with tenacity. The phrase, “By faith . . .” begins almost each servant’s remembrance.
You know it took Jacob fourteen long years of service to Laban before he was able to claim Rachel as his wife. It was through this family line that the Messiah had been promised. Verse thirteen sums it up best:
“These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.”
Often, we don’t see what God is doing or where He’s taking us. It’s not for us to know, but to be like those described in Hebrews. They were persuaded that serving Christ was worth it, they embraced whatever circumstance or situation they were put in, and they knew that those situations were only temporary and there was something far greater waiting for them.
Servants who serve with tenacity see the miracles because we’re in the place where God is working. The miracle is not through who you are, but in who God is. Whenever you find yourself in a place or situation where no one else will go, or if they’ve given up, look up! Because that’s when and where God is going to show up, and you don’t want to miss it.