Ecclesiastes 9:10 Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, wither thou goest.
Someone once said, “About the only thing that comes to us without EFFORT is old age.” It seems that just the other day I was in my early 20’s, eating whatever I wanted without fear of my weight fluctuating. Now in just under two years, I’ll be in my 40’s, and let me tell you, any splurges in appetite are seen immediately! Amazingly, I didn’t have to try too hard to get to this point.
Wouldn’t it be awesome if everything else in life was just that easy? Think about our school years (some may still be there). It seemed that for many of us, getting a great grade took EFFORT! More often than not, the battle for prestigious school awards is between a mighty few, not the vast majority. Why is that? The answer is simple: the majority of students are not willing to put forth the EFFORT in giving their all, thus qualifying them for these awards in the first place.
What about marriage? Wouldn’t it have been a charm if after the exchange of vows at the altar, smooth sailing would ensue in our marriage for many years to come, with little work? For those of us that are married, we understand it doesn’t work that way! Love takes commitment, and yes…EFFORT! However, because of our love for our spouse, the EFFORT is well worth it. The EFFORT we show in our marriage pays dividends that only strengthen our relationship. When I see my wife go out of her way to show her love, to do the things that please me, it only compels me to love her more. The same applies vice versa.
Consider the Christian life. Many of us hear the same sermons. We have the same Bible. We have the same God. But why do some stay faithful to the Lord, flourishing year to year, while others either fall away from church completely, or stay lukewarm? The answer is EFFORT! Those that walk with God show EFFORT every day by staying faithful in prayer and in their Bibles. They show EFFORT by abstaining from sin and staying focused on the Lord. They show EFFORT by determining to go to church whenever the church doors are open.
Where are we today? How are our relationships? Are they not what we expected? Could they be better? Maybe a little extra EFFORT will get us back on track. How about our walk with God? This is the most important aspect of our life. Has our prayer time been diminished to but a few small, kind words to God at the start of the day, before meals, and before bed? Have we used the same words over and over again until it is more repetition from memory than sincere conversation with the Lord? What about our Bible reading? Is it too much to read three to four chapters a day, yet we can be on our phone or the television for hours, and still feel it isn’t enough? How do we get that love for God back? Dear Christian, the answer to all these dilemmas is EFFORT. Would you join me in making the decision today, that in all areas of our life, we will show more EFFORT?
In 1986, a group of researchers published a study on Japanese mothers and mothers in Minneapolis. The mothers were asked to rank the most important things that a child needs to succeed academically. The answers tell a lot about the difference in our two cultures today. The mothers in Minneapolis chose "ability." The mothers in Japan said "EFFORT."
How can we follow through and see God do a great work in and through our lives?
As it made sense for the One who was the Word of God to follow the Word of God, so too does it make sense for His followers to do the same.