They were our next door neighbors, and they loved Christmas.
The first church I pastored was a small congregation located several miles out in the country. Our next door neighbors were a retired pastor and his family. Though it was only him, his wife, and their adult daughter, they had a large extended family. When the Christmas holidays arrived, so did all the kids, grandkids, and great-grandkids.
The old farmhouse was spacious but not enough for each of them to have their own rooms and beds. No problem. They loved family, wanted them there, and stacked them on the floor like cordwood. Getting up at night for a visit to the bathroom or kitchen could be treacherous. But no one complained. They enjoyed being together for the holidays and wouldn’t have thought about holding up in a motel. Determination to be together led them to re-arrange the house so all could find a place to sleep.
The friend who had a friend visit at midnight in search of food for a friend who had showed up at his house met a similar scenario. Getting up would have meant disturbing his wife, kids, and animals. But the knocking friend wouldn’t go away or take no for an answer. His determination won the day…and the food.
Determination demonstrates my sincerity and moves me forward in God’s work. The midnight caller was determined to find food for his friend who had called at a late hour. Societal rules demanded this courtesy. Had this friend refused him, he would have tried another. Our neighbors were equally determined to find room for their large family. When I’m determined, I’ll do more for God, not less, and He won’t have to beg me to work for Him.
Determination is usually met with rewards. It was for the friend at midnight. Now he wouldn’t have to return to his house and cook for this midnight caller. Although our determination is sometimes overlooked in life, God says He will reward our faithful, sincere service now and in the hereafter.
God is determined to carry out His plan for our lives and this world. He wants us to be equally determined to do our best for Him. How determined are you in your work for God?
Prayer: Father, increase our determination to do our best for You.
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