According to a survey conducted by the National Retail Dry Goods Association, 12 percent of the salespeople in this country write 80 percent of the business. We would assume that such people are especially gifted, and they probably are. But apparently there’s an even bigger reason for their success: perseverance. According to the survey, 88 percent of all salespeople give up after the first, second, or third contact, while 80% of the business is written after the fourth contact.*
It’s impossible to overestimate the importance of perseverance. Other than the truth, it will always be the most important thing you can have going for you. I meet people all the time who know what they ought to do, but lack the willingness to knuckle down and apply themselves over the long haul. As a result, they keep flirting with a better life, but never really embrace it.
Right now would be a good time to confront the quitter that lives inside you. If you’re really serious about growing a little stronger every day, you’re going to have to tie that little monster up, put a muzzle on him, lock him in a cage and throw away the key. If you don’t, he’ll be constantly badgering you to give up on every hard but worthwhile thing you ever try to accomplish. He’ll tell you that perseverance is overrated, that it’s only good for dieters, traveling salesmen and fishermen. He’ll encourage you to lighten up and cut yourself some slack.
What he won’t do is quote Luke 21:19.
That’s where Jesus said, “By standing firm, you will win your souls.” With those 8 words our Lord forever established perseverance as one of the most important Christian virtues.
We often think of giftedness as the thing that makes a Christian effective. I’m always hearing talk about the importance of discovering your gifts. I have on my shelves a number of books that focus on gifts. We’ve given spiritual gifts assessment tests at our church. Yet, honesty compels me to admit that the most dynamic and influential Christians I have known have seldom been the most gifted. What they have been, without exception, is steadfast.
For further reflection read 2 Thessalonians 2:15 and James 1:12.
* Van Crouch, Winning 101 (Tulsa:Honor, 1998), 71