I’ve tried and failed. Several times. So why try again?
I’m too old now. If I was younger, I might. But, I’m past my prime.
And besides, I can’t do it myself. And I doubt anyone would want to help me.
These three excuses have kept more people from trying, more people from succeeding, and more people from a richly rewarding life than we can ever imagine.
Yet, it doesn’t have to be that way. Just ask Diana Nyad.
Nyad, the endurance swimmer, became the first person to swim the dangerous 110 miles from Cuba to the cost of Florida without a shark cage. She arrived in Key West on Monday about 2 pm, after leaving Havana 53 hours earlier on Saturday morning.
Four previous times the 64-year-old Nyad had attempted to swim the Florida Strait. Four times she failed. Most recently in 2012.
As I watched her on Fox News, the exhausted, sun-burned swimmer with swollen lips stood on the beach and with a bit of slurred speech said, “I have three messages. One is, we should never, ever give up. Two is, you’re never too old to chase your dream. Three is, it looks like a solitary sport, but it is a team.”
What a powerful message! How much better would our world be if people applied her message? Relationships would improve. The home would be stronger. Our country would be more unified.
Also I couldn’t help but think how her message had a Biblical basis. Application of her three points would strengthen the church. Help Christians grow. Increase our devotion to Christ. Think about it.
(1) Never, ever give up! The apostle Paul is a great example of persistence to Christians. His commitment to Christ was unshakable. He was beaten. Imprisoned. Stoned. Suffered shipwreck four times! He endued hunger, thirst and emotional hurt. Yet, he never wavered. He wrote, “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.” Later while in a Roman prison he said, “I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 3:14). He says to us, “Never, ever give up!”
(2) You’re never too old to chase your dream. Or to change your life. Or make a difference. Or serve God. Abraham was 75 years old when God called him to leave his homeland. Sojourn in a foreign land. Dare to dream he could father a child in his old age. And become the Father of a mighty nation.
Moses was 80 when he led Israel of out Egypt. Caleb was 85 when he joined with Joshua to conqueror Canaan. Anna, the New Testament prophetess, was 84 and still serving God in the temple when Jesus was born.
Senior saints can still bear fruit in old age. Find your place of service. And seek to be used by God.
(3) Be team focused. Christianity is not a solo act, but a team effort. People who say, “I can be a good Christian, but I don’t need the church” fail to understand the importance of relationships. Fellowship. Communion. Community. We need each other. The Bible calls the church a family. And we are called to belong. To God. And to each other. The expression “one another” is used over 40 times in the epistles to emphasize the importance of our mutual dependence.
Although Diana Nyad was the one to complete the record-breaking swim, she had assembled a 35 member team to help her navigate the treacherous waters. She didn’t achieve her goal by herself. She needed help. And so do we.
Don’t make excuses for failure. Diana Nyad was right. It’s never too late to achieve success. Team up with people to encourage you. And above all, never ever quit!
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman