Practical Proverbial, from Mark, 11 January 2015

“Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that it is near, right at the door. Mark 13, verses 28-29.

You know the obvious message of these verses is “pay attention to the signs.”   As we’ve been talking, another is “be ready now.” Have you considered another message they convey?

God keeps trying.

The last week I’ve been working on a new project, this one in Washington DC.   It’s actually a sales pursuit and I don’t know if it will pay out or pan out yet.   I’m one of 10 on a team trying to land a deal, and there’s no guarantee that we’re going to be successful.   In reality, the client may hear our pitch and simply say, “thanks but no thanks” even though we’ve worked many hours to do our best.   Yet knowing all that, we’re still trying because that’s what people do.   It’s what you have to do to try to be successful.

Closer to home, my wife and I are struggling in opening our winery business. It hasn’t moved as fast as we thought it would, and purchasing the property we want for the vineyard is proving to be difficult. At times, we’re each getting discouraged because even though we have a passion for the idea, sometimes the dream ebbs and flows.   But we’re still trying.

And then there’s weight loss; forgive me for some self-indulgent talk.   I’m the heaviest I’ve ever been in my life.   When I was a young skinny kid I vowed to defy my genes and gravity and never get heavy.   I failed. Now, just north of 5’11’’ and 220, I’m much heavier than I want to be or is healthy.   Exercise and diet have been a see-saw of disappointment, and while I’m currently among the New Year’s ‘resolved,’ it’s tough going.   But I’m trying even if I’m not always successful.

Just yesterday I watched the movie “Unbroken.”   You’ll remember it’s the story of Louie Zamperini, the Olympic distance runner, WWII POW, and forgiveness-embracing evangelist.   Zamperini dedicated his life to Jesus, vowing that, if Jesus saved him from death in the war, he would spend the rest of his life evangelizing.   That’s what he did, eventually reconciling with all of his Japanese war tormentors who would meet with him.   Louie Zamperini lived a long and successful life in the Spirit because he always kept trying even when it meant spiritual and physical torture.

All these are stories that reflect how God keeps trying in our lives.   He never gives up on us.   He always tries to reach out and communicate, to bring us back to Him even when we reject Him and run away.   To prove it, He regularly, continually gives us signs of His presence and His promises so that we won’t lose heart and stick with Him.   It’s not just to be ready and pay attention to the signs:   it’s to cling to Him in every minute of our lives because He is always trying to connect to us.

Lord Jesus, thank You for always trying to reach me even when I don’t try to reach You.   Never give up on me, I pray.   I will follow only You.

Read Mark 13, verses 1-31.

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