Former U.S. Secretary of State, Colin Powell, commented recently on the rebuilding of the American armed forces after the defeat of the Vietnam War. He said that a decision was taken to require a minimum standard of high school graduation, because this would not only ensure greater teachability, but also greater persistence. He said that the army didn’t want people who would quit.
In building anything of success, persistence and teachability are enormous keys to success. We will all quit at some time, but the ability to endure hardship and keep our eyes on the end goals of achievement can sustain our focus and energies for important objectives. Loss of vision is a demotivating factor in any enterprise.
The most successful U.S. Presidents – Lincoln, Roosevelt and Washington – all had their leadership bolstered by the unifying vision of wartime success and this engendered a teachability among people throughout their nation and the world in aspiring to greatness for a great cause.
Maybe, in all of this, there is a key for today’s church. The war is never military, but spiritual, yet the enemy is an unseen devil many believe not to exist. The unspeakable evil of contemporary atrocities must be fought in faith and with love to rally people to lay down their own agenda, to serve an eternal cause and to promote values that bring life change and social betterment.
When the going gets tough, that ability to endure is therefore more crucial, and we therefore “lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily ensnares us [to] run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12:1-2).
Not much better a unifying cause or vision to inspire endurance and teachability, really!