The National Sales Executives Association has discovered that 48% of all salespersons make one call, then give up on the prospective buyer. 25% quit after the second call; 12% call three times them quit. 10% keep calling until they succeed, and 80% of all new sales are made after the fifth call to the same prospect.
Seldom does success come quickly with God’s people. Abraham was 75 years old when God first promised him offspring (Genesis 12:4,7) and 100 when Isaac was born (Genesis 21:5). Moses was a shepherd for 40 years and wandered in the wilderness for 40 more until coming to the edge of the promised land.
If we are to succeed in life and in God’s Kingdom we must have the fruit of the Spirit called patience.
God displays patience with us not wishing any to perish but that all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love (Psalm 103:8). The Lord never gives up on us!
We are to extend the same patient grace-oriented attitude towards others. When Peter asked Jesus how many times should I forgive someone who sins against me? 7 times? Jesus responds 70 times 7. Jesus did not mean 490 times, but was doing celestial math, indicating that forgiveness is our modus operandi—the way we handle other people. Ephesians 4:32 forgive one another just as God has in Christ forgiven you.
Patience also applies to our relationship with God. Sometimes we have to let God operate in our lives as He choses to. For instance, When Paul asked God to remove the thorn in his flesh and the Lord said, “No my grace is sufficient for you.” (2 Cor. 12:9)
It is interesting to walk with God over the course of many decades and see how prayers offered in my 20’s and 30’s are only now coming to fruition. Or other prayers I desperately wanted answered, and in hindsight I can see the wisdom of His “No.”
May I suggest we should never give up on the people on our prayer list. There are fun stories of great preachers and missionaries who prayed for certain individuals and some came to Christ right away; others, years later. Still others, decades later. And then after the great person of faith died, the remaining unbelievers on the prayer list gave their lives to Christ. Our Lord moves beyond our time frame! So be patient and fervent!
–By Rev. Dr. William Lewis