I may have answered each of those questions with an absolute, "No Way! I never run out of energy and gusto. Bring it on!" On the other hand, I may have answered the questions honestly.
More than once I have wanted to quit. I have occasionally muttered to myself, "Just give me my participation trophy and let me sit the rest of it out. I am done." Unfortunately, or fortunately, the Bible has other ideas.
"Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope; and hope does not disappoint because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us." (Romans 5:3--5)
Suffering produces perseverance and endurance. This, in turn, builds proven character in us. Are we grateful for these experiences in life which build our character and lead us to the virtue of hope which does not disappoint? Yes, I know--it is much easier said than done. However, the message is clear. We are called to persevere. Here are a few more Scripture verses for reflection.
"Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him." (James 1:12)
"But the one who stands firm to the end will be saved." (Matthew 24:13)
"Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize." (1 Corinthians 9:24)
Much has been said by many other writers about participation trophies. Some are in favor, and some are adamantly opposed. I simply ask this question. Does a participation trophy encourage mediocrity? What is the motivation to train in a very strict and disciplined manner if all the participants walk away with the same trophy at the end regardless of the outcome?
Let's put all of this into the perspective of our spiritual journey. Are we okay with mediocrity in our relationship with the Lord? If not, are we willing to be disciplined in our prayer life? Will we sacrifice for love of others? Will we bear sufferings and afflictions in a manner that builds perseverance and proven character so that we may be filled with a hope that does not disappoint? Do we truly yearn for the imperishable crown of everlasting life?
My dear people, it matters how we live. Are we faithful witnesses of Jesus Christ or not? The world desperately needs to see people of faith who are on fire with love for the Lord. Will you be one of those people?