Perseverance

Paul Durham

Encouragement when you feel like quitting!

Photo by Rod Long on Unsplash

We don’t quit, but sometimes we want to

Faithfulness is a key in ministry. Quite frankly, there have been multiple seasons and reasons I have felt like quitting. Whether it be because of financial strain, fatigue, frustration with logistics, loneliness when leaving my family, or general disappointment and discouragement that can infiltrate our lives and ministries. We are in a spiritual war and any of us on the front lines, advancing the Good News, have felt the battle. (Ephesians 6:12)

Back of my Bible – Spiritual Marker

When I get discouraged and feel like quitting my evangelism ministry to go get a “normal” job, I have a spiritual marker that I like to look back on. It is what I wrote in the back of my Bible ten years ago. Back then I was pastoring a small church, but I had a regular salary, a nice home in a large neighborhood, and a little money in the bank. Even though I was pastoring, I knew I was called to be an evangelist. So, I took a step of faith and transitioned from the church and started a 501c3 non-profit evangelism ministry named Ripe 4 Life. We lost the house and had to move. We now live in a smaller home in South Carolina with less money to depend on. But you know what? My family and I are very content and satisfied in the Lord and His will for our lives. However, when things get tough, there are times I still doubt my calling. I look in the back of my old Bible and read that marker which is actually a prayer. I wrote this in bullet points, and it reads…

  • I’ve heard You call me to evangelism.
  • Give us a team with gifts and skills needed.
  • Give us supporters and senders, both anchors and average ones. Financial and prayer partners.
  • Supply all our needs for my family and ministry.
  • Open many ministry opportunities to proclaim and preach the gospel.
  • I am afraid but I will walk by faith in You my Lord. I will be faithful to the call.
  • I love you Jesus!

God has answered most of that prayer but there are still a few points I’m waiting on. He has used this spiritual marker in my life many times to reassure me that He has indeed gifted me and called me as an evangelist. I encourage you to have a spiritual marker to look back on and remember your call. (Joshua 4:19-24 & Acts 26:16-19)

The Pony Express

I wanted to share something I heard one day listening to a country preacher on the radio in the Carolinas. After his message I researched some of the illustrations to use myself. It shows many parallel characteristics to an evangelist.

The Pony Express was a mail service where riders on horseback traveled from St. Joseph, Missouri to Sacramento, California. It was developed by William H. Russell, William B. Waddell, and Alexander Majors. Plans for the pony express were spurred by the impending cloud of the Civil War and the need for faster communication with California and the West. The service opened officially on April 3, 1860. The service lasted only 19 months until October 24, 1861, when the completion of the Pacific Telegraph Line ended the need for its existence. [1]

The next time you feel down and discouraged, look up to your Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, then saddle up your horse and ride. You and I are called to deliver God’s mail – the glorious gospel. And remember, because we are a family at NGA, no evangelist has to ride alone!

Pony Express-Quick Facts

Qualifications: Riders had to weigh less than 125lbs.[2]

These men were smaller men. I likened this to being small in our own sight and making Jesus the only One in the spotlight. Small men and women of God walking in humility and not pride.

Saddlebags: Their saddlebags were designed to carry mail. The “mochila” had a hole in the front to fit over the saddle horn. At the corners were four locked leather boxes where the mail and timecard were kept.[3]

I compare this to evangelists having all we need and being powerfully equipped to do the job of taking the Good News to the world.
We have the power of the Holy Spirit and the power of the gospel itself which penetrates the hearts of men and women to bring people to Christ. (Acts 1:8 & Romans 1:16)

Bible: Each rider was presented with his own specially-bound copy of the Bible.[4]

We each have our Bible which contains the message of Jesus. We should study it, know it, memorize it, and use it well while we’re sharing the Good News. His Word is powerful! (Isaiah 55:11 & Hebrews 4:12)

Route: The route was 1966 miles from St. Joseph, Missouri to Sacramento, California.[5]

As evangelists, many of us have been called by God to do some traveling. Distance doesn’t matter, sometimes you cross the street and sometimes you cross the ocean to deliver the gospel to those who need Jesus.

Motto: The mail must go through.[6]

The Pony Express riders were tough and rugged men, nothing would stop them from delivering the mail. They just got on their ponies and rode.

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Paul Durham is the founder and lead evangelist of Ripe 4 Life Ministries. Ripe 4 Life exits to rescue people from spiritual darkness with the Good News of Jesus Christ. He has traveled to various countries working with churches, serving communities, and proclaiming the gospel. In addition, he has had the privilege to collaborate with many NGA evangelists in proclamation initiatives. He has been married to Heidi for twenty years and they have a fourteen year old son named Daniel. They reside in Clover, South Carolina.