Endurance: What Does it Take to Make You Quit?

Sunday Afternoon Musings

Silhouettes of Charles Simeon by Edouart
Silhouettes of Charles Simeon Preaching by Edouart

Imagine a pastor whose congregation of wealthy members . . .

  • refuse to come to church
  • refuse to let anyone else sit in their pews
  • remove chairs that are placed in the aisle so that standing visitors have to remain standing
  • burn the chairs that someone else paid for for the visitors
  • refuse to let the pastor speak at anything other than Sunday morning
  • talk about the pastor behind his back and defame his name
  • and do all this for 12 years!

Thirty-seven years later, after 49 years of ministry, the pastor, Charles Simeon, was asked by a friend how he had been able to endure, how was he able to overcome the persecutions, the lack of respect, the prejudice, the graceless, thankless and mean-spirited treatment of the congregation. Here’s his response:

My dear brother, we must not mind a little suffering for Christ’s sake. When I am getting through a hedge, if my head and shoulders are safely through, I can bear the pricking of my legs. Let us rejoice in the remebrance that our holy Head has surmounted all His suffering and triumphed over death. Let us follow Him patiently; we shall soon be partakers of His victory.

as quoted in John Piper’s, 
The Roots of Endurance, p. 77

He was 71 and would continue to pastor that same church for five more years when God called him home at the age of 76.

Endurance through trial.

What a contrast to so many not only in ministry but also to Christians in general. We seem to be defeated so quickly and by such small things. And I suspect the reason is that our meditation on the cross, unlike Simeon’s, is so meager, thin, and shallow. Deep lives are not produced by ease. They are the result of endurance under pressure, affliction endured for the sake of the cross.

Lord Jesus, afflict me if you must, but give me Yourself.
Deepen my heart so that nothing can conquer it. Help me
to train my heart to find all its joy in You and what You have
already done and purchased at the cross. Amen.


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