It was 12 a.m. on Jan. 1, 2017 when I received the well-predicted “Happy New Year’s!” texts that people were eagerly waiting to send with their thumbs on the tab.
All across the country there were people celebrating in many different forms and fashions. Some shot fireworks, while others shot worse things. Some went home too late, while others might still be looking for it. Some played Monopoly all night, while others watched people play Monopoly because they went bankrupt on Boardwalk. I, however, was sprawled across my couch in the comforts of my living room. I had one shoe on and the other shoe cocked on its side on the floor. One arm was tucked between me and the backrest and the other one was dangling off the cushion like I was just about to do something productive but ran out of energy halfway through the motion.
And there I was, thinking about the new day to come, with the new year to follow.
After hearing the vibrant texts, I replied to each of them generically. One, however, I sent back, “Happy New Year. Time to start all over.”
A few minutes went by without a sound, but the silence was interrupted by the last text I would receive in the night. Without further ado, I turned onto my right shoulder to glance at the text as I tilted my screen towards me. The text read, “At least you’re not giving up.”
I pondered this statement for a while… good while…. a good long while.
So simple, but profound indeed….how important it is not to give up.
I worked at Walmart in my late teen years. I worked specifically in the parking lot pushing buggies back to the bay. Needless to say, I have just about seen it all.
There were always mishaps. The gathering, the pushing, the stacking, the replenishing of buggies, oh what constant frustration! Without fail, the buggies I had just pushed up to the bay would find themselves back in the parking lot where I had just gathered them. The cycle could not and would not be broken! The work was never ending! I must have pushed the same buggy back to the same bay five times in a day! Continually, I had to start over, day in and day out. After a while, it seemed useless to keep pushing the buggies. I had lost the significance of such an underrated job.
After some pouting and inner-groaning, I would be reminded of the people who mindlessly grabbed a bright and shiny, swift and ready buggy that awaited them in the bay so they could swoop through the store in a single gathering and tote their groceries to the register all at once! I thought about the mass chaos the parking lot turned into after the stampedes of Black Friday, and to think that could be every day! I envisioned a buggy setting sail across the lot in a fierce gust of wind destined for a newly painted prized possession!
And so I would muster some motivation that would last me until lunch break.
Jesus tells us in Luke 16: 10 that whoever is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.
It is good to understand that it will not always be easy to continue in our responsibilities faithfully, even the responsibilities that we love.
In the same manner, we need to understand that it is crucially important to follow through with our responsibilities and commitments all the same.
Our eyes were not made to see the ends of our influence, but the grasp of our influence reaches far and wide.
When we are feeling discouraged, tired, and feel as if we are repeating the same patterns in life like spinning tires, God can help us by His testimony. God has had to start over from scratch. God gave Adam and Eve a perfect life with a beautiful Earth to thrive in, and all was thrown away into the pitfall of sin. God could have given up, but chose to reconstruct.
Mankind became so sinful and distant from Him that He washed it all away and started over again. He could have given up, but He preserved us yet again.
Over and over the children of God forsook the law, yet time and time again God delivered them from the hands of the enemy. The acts of God brought His people to repentance and to a faithful reckoning. Even still, His people slipped into a destructive lifestyle away from His will. Even so, God remained faithful.
Though it seems God had to constantly repeat Himself in Scriptures, there is one thing that will never have to be repeated, and that is Jesus Christ on the Cross.
This ultimate sacrifice;
This wonderful act of submission;
This heroic act of humility;
God’s ultimate showcase of love;
The epitome of God’s grace;
This indeed was done once and for all, and for all who believe.
Thank God that we do not have to rely on ourselves for salvation.
Praise God that we do not have to provide a sacrifice or atonement every time we mess up.
Let us praise our God that never gave up on us.
Let us together pray for God’s plan; seek His face even in the smallest of things; stay faithful and steadfast no matter how difficult; and let us NEVER give up.
Stay encouraged, and God bless
Isaac Redman is a 22-year-old youth pastor at Pleasant Grove Church. He is a servant of Christ and loves music and the outdoors