“I believe that endeavor is one of the most beautiful words in the English language,” wrote Gary Henry in his Daybook Series, More Enthusiastic Ideas.
Gary further opined, “Living in a world that, despite its goodness, is tragically broken and where many of our desires and goals seem frustratingly out of reach, the fact that we continue to endeavor speaks volumes about the nobility of the human spirit. In the face of such discouragement, lesser creatures would give up. But we do not. We persevere. We stay the course. We endeavor.”
Gary’s thoughts spurred my interest in the possible Bible usage of endeavor. I first thought of Ephesians 4:3 where Paul encourages us to do our very best at living the Christian life.
“I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph 4:3, NKJV)
The word Endeavor, according to scholars Thayer, Vine and Robertson, literally is “to make haste or to hasten.” It means “to exert oneself…to be active…diligent. It involves and imbibes the qualities of being earnest, zealous, eager and alert.
In his commentary on Ephesians, C. G. (Colly) Caldwell says, “To endeavor one must be in earnest about what he is doing. He diligently strives for success and works at his task. He makes haste and is zealous.” Regarding the issue of unity, Colly correctly observes, “Unity is neither acquired or maintained by accident. All our effort is required to know the truth upon which we can unite and to overcome the selfish desires which keep us from being content with that word with one another.”
In fact, the entirety of the Christian life is one that takes a focused, persistent and consistent effort. To please God, we must endeavor.
Speaking of our attitude toward God’s work and Word, we are commanded to “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15, NKJV)
The Hebrew writer warns us not to become apathetic like Israel of old and fall into unbelief. Instead, “Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience. ” (Heb 4:11,ESV)
Regarding spiritual growth Peter instructs us to develop the virtues of faith, moral excellence, knowledge, self control, perseverance, brotherly kindness and love. Then he admonishes “Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, (2 Pet 1:10, NIV)
Furthermore, as Peter reminds us of the coming of Christ and the impending destruction of the world, He exhorts, “So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him” (2 Pet 3:14, NIV)
Diligent. Strive. Eager. Effort. These words embody the spirit of endeavoring.
As John H. Rhoades expressed it. “Never stop reaching for more.” He added, “Do more than exist…live. Do more than touch…feel. Do more than look…observe. Do more than read…absorb. Do more than hear…listen. Do more than listen…understand.”
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman