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Perseverance/Persistence: Ninth in a Series on 1 & 2 Timothy

By John A. Huffman, Jr.
2 Timothy 2:4-5

No one serving in the army gets entangled in everyday affairs; the soldier's aim is to please the enlisting officer. And in the case of an athlete, no one is crowned without competing according to the rules.

Today's message focuses on perseverance/persistence.

Webster's Dictionary defines perseverance in the following words: "To persist in a state, enterprise, or undertaking in spite of counter-influences, opposition, or discouragement."

A synonym for the word perseverance is persistence.

Webster's Dictionary defines persistence in the following words: "To take a stand, stand firm, to go on resolutely or stubbornly in spite of opposition, importunity, or warning.

I know what you sense coming. From what I've said thus far, you can expect a rousing sermon on the theme "when the going gets tough, the tough get going." That's a kind of mantra of our day, isn't it--whether it comes from exhortation from a political leader or a coach?

There is a legitimacy to such an exhortation. Too many people, often quite gifted, accomplish much less than they otherwise could have accomplished simply because they give up, buckle under, can't stand the pressure.

Framed and hanging on my study wall at home is this statement, titled "PERSISTENCE."

Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence.

Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent.

Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.

Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts.

Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.

The slogan "press on" has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.

Who do you think wrote those words? They were written by President Calvin Coolidge.

It actually is a profound observation, underlining the importance of persistence, of perseverance.

I came across it in a somewhat obtuse way. My daughter, Carla, has a dear friend named Kelly, whose father plays on the senior golf tour. His name is Jim Colbert. Several years ago at Christmas, Carla was visiting the Colberts in Palm Desert. Jim had this definition of "Persistence" printed up on beautiful parchment and a number of copies framed as that year's Christmas present to friends. He gave a copy to Carla, who, seeing how fascinated I was by it, loaned it to me until she finds the appropriate place for it in her home.

It is possible to build a whole career around this concept. In the case of Jim Colbert, his PGA golf career was modest, and, for decades, he was a journeyman player who lived in the shadow of the Arnold Palmers, Gary Players and Jack Nicklauses. Then something happened when Colbert turned 50. He left broadcasting to give golf a try in what then was called the Senior Tour and is now the Champions Tour. Much to everyone's surprise, including his own, he began to win. For the next decade, he won big, making the millions that had eluded him on the regular tour and doing far better than those men just named and in whose shadows he had played for decades.

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