Keys to the Kingdom – Carolyn Tucker
My husband Jimmy and his two older brothers learned to haul hay when they were kids. This is one of the hardest jobs because it’s always miserably hot and the work is relentless. As with everything, there’s a fine art to being a real hay hauler. Not just anybody off the city sidewalk can do it — but a country boy can git ‘er done. The first year we were married, Jimmy and his friend Dave teamed up to haul hundreds of square hay bales for an area farmer. I got the easy job of driving the 1948 Chevy one-ton flatbed. All I had to do was hold ‘er in a smooth granny gear while the guys worked their sweaty precision with hay hooks, great balance, and combined coordination. Those boys had the muscles, technique, and perseverance to get the job done and deliver on their promise.
Persevere means to persist in, or remain constant, to a purpose or task in the face of difficulties. It means to follow through to the end, to stand firm, never give up, and be determined to finish. Where I come from, persevere means to carry on, keep at it, press on, hammer away, stick with it, hang on like a Bulldog and finish what you start.
There’s a fine art to being a genuine Christian. Every born-again believer can do it, but not everyone wants to live a lifestyle of unswerving commitment. Any numbskull can “lay down in the hayfield” and give up. Believers must make a lifetime decision to persevere in their walk of obedience with God. As God’s children, we ought to be strong in character and represent our Father excellently. When King David was instructing Solomon on building the temple, he told him to be courageous and get to work. Don’t be fearful of the task, for God will see to it that everything is finished correctly.
Jimmy and Dave wouldn’t have hauled the hay at no charge. They were expecting payment for their efforts, and the farmer was expecting his field to be stripped clean. The scripture states that God rewards His children when they make an effort to truly know Him. “And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to Him must believe that God exists and that He rewards those who sincerely seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6 NLT).
One of the best biblical examples of perseverance is Noah. He found favor with the Lord because he was a righteous man, the only blameless person living on earth, and he walked in close fellowship with God. When God told Noah to build an ark, it took him 100 years to finish it! Because Noah didn’t stop hammering away, he and his family were saved from the flood. God rewarded that family of eight with the gift of life.
“The end of a thing is better than its beginning; the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit” (Ecclesiastes 7:8 NKJV). It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish. It wasn’t how many bales were in the field at the beginning, it’s how many were in the barn at the end. Christians are in a race to win the heavenly prize. But you’ve got to pace yourself so you can endure and make it across the finish line. It’s like living your life in granny gear — just keep it steady and don’t quit. Quitters never win and winners never quit. Believe it or not, granny gear will get you across the Jordan River and through the Pearly Gates.
The Key: Persevere, keep it in granny gear, and God will help you be a winner.