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And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.
Galatians 6:9

The books about ministry I read in Bible college had a lot of advice. Some of it good. Some of it I have long forgotten. Advice about integrity, about leadership and influence, about interpreting the Bible, and being culturally relevant.

I was told I would be successful if I made sure who I was in private was the same as I was in public. I was told I’d be successful if I prayed over every decision. I was told I’d be successful if I adhered to these (3, 7, 10) rules of influential, successful people. I was told I would be successful if I stayed a lifelong learner, continued to focus on the fundamentals, remained untainted by the desire for money, fame, power.

No one ever told me that to be successful I had to be stubborn.

No one told me that being the same person in public and private meant being just as publicly discouraged, tired, and hurt as I was privately. No one told me that sometimes even the decisions I prayed about wouldn’t turn out the way I thought they would. No one told me that for every rule of the influential and successful people there are a hundred caveats and exceptions. No one told me that staying a lifelong learner is tiring, the fundamentals get fuzzy sometimes, and money, fame and power can start looking really, really good after a while.

No one ever told me that sometimes – maybe more often than not – the fruit doesn’t come fast enough to satisfy my desire for success. That I would feel like giving up more times in a day than I’d feel like continuing. That sometimes doing good could make me so, so weary. That not giving up means clinging to it by fingernails peeling back from their skin underneath.

No one ever told me that to reap the harvest, I would need to be stubborn.

Or, if you prefer a more Biblical-sounding word, faithful.

So today, I’m not hoping to hear “well done, well-read and fundamentally sound servant”. I’m not aiming for “well done, influential, successful, and eloquently prayerful servant”.

Today, all I’m hoping to hear is “well done, good and stubborn servant”.