Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Building Rome

At some point in your life, I’m sure you have had an idea for something great. Everyone does. It’s interesting, because the ratio of people who have big desires compared to the people who pursue/achieve their big desires is overwhelmingly lopsided.

Why is it that so many people don’t pursue something that they are sure they need, or something that they believe will be beneficial?

People have great ideas of things they want to do… whether it is to get college degree, maybe it is to mend a relationship with a loved one, or maybe it is to have a deeper relationship with their Heavenly Father, who created them.

All are noble goals and they are worth chasing after, but why do people give up?
Often times we have a mindset that if God is for something you are going to do then everything will just go great, there will be no bumps in the road, and everything will be smooth sailing. And I’m not sure where we get that method of thinking. Jesus even promises that if we are His disciples, the world will hate us (in case you are wondering, being a disciple of Jesus is a great thing to strive for). Things won’t go as we see planned, but it will be for God’s glory. He, Jesus, even says, “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.”

According to Jesus, a rough road is a mark of being on the right path. The disconnect is that we think a big bump in the road might mean that God is trying to tell us that we are on the wrong path and it is time to give up. This happens all over the place. But rough times are necessary if you are going to do anything great or worth your time.

This isn’t the easiest thing to see in the mirror. But whenever someone else is striving toward a noble goal and they give up, it is very easy to see and be critical. Seeing someone give up makes you want to wring their neck. But nearly all of us are guilty of this on some level.

Let’s take a look at the Ancient Romans. When they were building Rome, they were doing things that had never been done before. The structures they were building were hybrids of other Mediterranean countries such as Spain and Greece. They adopted particular elemental structures and pieced them together in ways that had never been attempted before. The Romans were the first to use an arch in a building. An arch is an incredible piece of structure that no one point of the arch holds all the weight. But no one had used it in a building before the Romans. They were doing things that had never been done to create something that had never been created before!

Someone had a vision for the end and because of that vision they relentlessly pursued their goal until it was complete.

But… Rome was not built in a day.

I wonder if we were able to go to the people who were building Rome at the time and talk with them, I wonder how discouraged they might have felt at times. If there were ever times where they thought, to themselves or out loud, “This isn’t going as planned. Maybe they were right, maybe this can’t be built. Maybe we should just give up.”

There had to have been tough times, but they couldn’t give up, because Rome as we know it would not be. Sure, someone eventually might have done something as cool as the Romans did with their infrastructure, but the Romans did what most people won’t do: they kept going. They endured. They fought until the end.

Rome was not built in a day.

And neither will any great thing you ever want to accomplish.

Romans 5 says, “we rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance produces character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us.”

When we go through trials, we are told things will get better, so we have that hope. However, we want that hope right now and we get discouraged when it isn’t coming. But if we were to get hope right away, then we wouldn’t really have endured anything. And if we don’t endure anything, then we will never build or develop character. But the only reason anyone will endure is if they have that vision of hope, because hope does not disappoint us.

Hope is one of the 3 greatest things in the world according to Paul in 1 Corinthians 13:13 when he says, “these 3 remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.” The reason people will endure is because they have hope for what is to come. But without suffering or endurance you will never reach the thing in which you have hope. So always trust, always hope, and always persevere. Without this, nothing great will ever happen, but do it and I believe it is the key to your life being radically transformed!

Rome was not built in a day and neither is any great thing you are trying to do.