"Strive for righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness." (I Timothy 6:11)
I found these pigeons all hunkered-down on the roof of a church not long ago, desperately trying to get through one of the coldest days of the winter. Seemed like there was little they could do except stay together, look for a warm roost on a roof where the building's heat might be escaping, and endure the season's blast of frigid air.
At first glance it seems almost strange to see the Apostle Paul list "endurance" with such other important traits as "godliness, faith, love and gentleness." Those strike me as much more active sorts of qualities, requiring healthy decision making and self control. Isn't "endurance" simply the only thing we can do when we can't really do anything? The other qualities sound as though they're born from strength while "endurance" reeks of leftovers and weakness. "All I can do is endure it," I've often heard in times of pain and suffering.
So why did Paul include "endurance" in such a stellar list of qualities? Maybe it's because endurance is far more than the absence of anything that will fix our present condition. In fact, endurance is an act of faith in and of itself. Endurance requires we remember and celebrate in difficult times that God has gotten us through, and God will get us through.
Endurance is not "all we have left," it is what we need. There are more times in our lives than we would like to admit when we have little or no control of our circumstances. In those moments we are not powerless. Rather, we are emboldened to endure by the Spirit of God. I pray that God's Spirit will give me endurance. How about you?
Blessings and Peace,
Pastor, Sand Hill United Methodist Church
Boaz, West Virginia
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