From the Book
As this study draws to a close, Rob offers a critical tool on developing tenacity: When we begin to feel worn in our pursuit of God’s call, remember and revisit our first love—the aspect of our vocation or ministry that answers the question of why we do what we do. Rob’s why is his pastoral relationship with his congregants. Pastoral visits reenergize him to persevere through financial campaigns, administrative work, conflicts, and even sermon writing. Remember your call to Christian leadership. Remind your congregants to look for and return to the why in their pursuit of God’s call. We cannot develop tenacity on our own. It takes a community of people who support us through the tough times and a reliance on God that our work will pay off, even if we never personally see the results. Our spiritual history proves that those who follow God’s call have the spiritual DNA to accomplish what they set out to do. Rob finally shares our suppositions about where and how Paul died, but we do not really know—the Bible never tells us. Paul’s tenacity meant that he was always willing to die in pursuit of spreading the Gospel. Disciples of Jesus Christ were Paul’s why; what’s yours?
From the DVD
In this session, Rob takes us to sites in Ephesus, Caesarea, and Jerusalem where Paul faced resistance that required great tenacity. Rob also lays out how one develops tenacity: it begins with a passion that ignites a purpose; it is maintained by something more than believing in a cause; and it is done in community with the support of those who keep you going. Paul lived out his purpose by finding his passion to share the gospel of Jesus Christ, through faith in God’s presence, and in the company of companions like Barnabas, Silas, Timothy, and others. The foundational question of tenacity is this: What (or who) keeps you from giving up, especially when your passion for your purpose does not seem to be enough? Paul had friends in the faith. In our lives “friends in the faith” do not have to be only Christians. Friends who support your Christian faith are crucial in developing tenacity, but they do not have to be the only ones. If your purpose is in community organizing, “friends in the faith” may be organizers in your location who work in a different arena of public life or a network of organizers on the same issues across the country or around the world. As someone committed to interfaith dialogue, some of my “friends in the faith” practice other religions, and though we do not share a religion, we share a commitment to working toward a world where people of different religious faiths can love and respect one another despite their differences. Who in your support system keeps you going because of your compatible purposes? Who keeps you going because of shared Christian faith? Who keeps you going because they believe in you personally and in your tenacious ability to fulfill your purpose?
“[God] will also strengthen you to the end.” —1 Corinthians 1:8 (NRSV)
Like all the letters we know to have been written by Paul himself, Paul’s first letter to the church at Corinth begins with greeting and thanksgiving. Paul give thanks for the church at Corinth and for God’s faithfulness. Paul assures the Corinthians that what God has started, God will finish. God has given them grace, knowledge, and spiritual gifts through Jesus Christ, so God will strengthen them throughout their lives. This promise holds true for us as well and can help us develop the tenacity to fulfill our purpose: God will be with us always, because God has called us to the work of pursuing our passions toward our purpose in life.
Lord, when we begin to feel worn out, remind us of our first love. Help us turn to you and your abundant strength and to seek the support of our friends in the faith. Amen.
Friends, go in peace knowing that God gives you the strength to pursue your passion with tenacity. Support and rely upon one another as you seek God’s purpose for your life. May the love of God and the fellowship of friends in the faith bless you today and every day. Amen.