Perseverance Must Finish Its Work
Have you split any really hard wood, lately? For most of us the time of cutting and splitting firewood for the cook stove or the fireplace is long gone. Our modern conveniences offer us many alternatives to labor intensive chores like cutting and splitting firewood. Cutting firewood is a kind of therapy for me. First of all, it gets me into the great outdoors. Secondly, it gives me a workout that also benefits my family with the charm of a warm fire on a cold day or a cool morning. Lastly, it gives me an opportunity to remember good life-lessons and make new friends.
The key to splitting the log is NOT brute strength but perseverance, consistency, and patience. One powerful blow with a sledgehammer will only bounce the wedge out of the log, so that you have to retrieve it and start all over. What works the best is to score the top of the log about two inches deep with a chainsaw making a place to start the wedge with a sledgehammer. Then, if you will be patient and persevere, you can methodically drive the wedge all the way through the log, until it splits in two.
I have shared this strategy with two of my newest friends. One of my friends is Skyler; he is in the sixth grade and might weigh seventy pounds with a rock or two in his pocket. He struggles to use a long handled sledgehammer, but he patiently and consistently lifts the hammer and strikes the wedge until it splits the log in two. My other friend is Matt. He was former NCAA Division II offensive lineman. His arms are about the size of my legs, and he might be closer to three hundred than two hundred pounds. He handles a sledgehammer with no problem. However, he, like Skyler, had to learn that perseverance must finish its work!
There are no shortcuts in living this life to the glory of God and for our eternal benefit. The only thing that pleases God is faith in Him (Heb 11:6). Our lives bring Him glory in and benefit us only in the church and in Christ Jesus (Gal 2:20; Eph 3:21).
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. 6 But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does. . . Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains. 8 You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. 9 Don’t grumble against each other, brothers, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door! (James 1:2–7; 5:7–9 NIV)