I begin each week at Streamside by praying as I climb Big Pocono. When I first started this routine, I would come to a crisis point near the top when I would reason that this was far enough for today and I would consider abandoning the climb and heading back down. This was especially true on the mornings that it was wet, windy and cold or when the snow was especially deep near the top. The Lord instilled in my mind that I needed to complete the climb and this became symbolic to taking the necessary steps for Streamside to remain a sustainable ministry.
2 Kings 13:14-19 is the account of Elisha’s final prophetic role with Joash, King of Israel. Elisha asked the King to take arrows and strike them on the ground. Joash struck the ground 3 times and then stopped. Elisha informed him that because he stopped at 3 instead of striking 5 or 6 times, he would not have enough victories to defeat Syria.
We recently used our initiative course with a retreat group of 5th and 6th graders to illustrate this scriptural lesson. After having each of the 4 groups strike the ground with an arrow (which really puzzled them), we sent them out to complete the following…
- 1. Count how many times their whole group could run to the top of the tubing hill in 15 minutes (7 was the most)
- 2. Move their whole group over the medium climbing wall
- 3. Remove the tire over the top of the “King’s Finger” without it touching
- 4. Attempt to steal the “golden nugget” before the holder quoted Galatians 6:9 and opened his eyes
When we brought the 4 groups back together, we told them the Joash/Elisha story and it became one of those teachable moments that inevitably happens at camps and retreats.
It is common to do a lot but not enough. The boredom of routine, the discouragement of not seeing results or just the plain exhaustion from sustained effort might cause us to stop just before realizing success. You never know when that one more conversation, visit, call, email, post, meal or renovation (or whatever you do) will be the one that puts you over the top.
“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