I read an anecdote last week about a chemist who concocted a soft drink formula and called it “One-Up.” But it didn’t sell. He tried to improve it and changed the name to “Two - Up.” Still no luck. He revised the formula and the name to “Three-Up.” Still it was a failure. He kept trying till he called his product “Six-Up.” Still no success. Then he quit.
That little story would be funny if it weren’t so close to the truth of what often happens in life. Many times people give up too soon. It seems that God has placed all things of value where we have to stretch and grow to reach them. Of course that’s not true of our salvation. Since we could never earn or deserve salvation God gives it to us freely. But everything else in life has a price tag. The price is discipline, struggle, growth, refinement, and perseverance.
It seems to me that God has designed life that way in order to weed out those who are not serious. The things of value are reserved for those with the discipline to go through the struggle necessary to achieve them. Good relationships don’t just happen. Good health doesn’t just happen. Success in your career doesn’t just happen. Almost everyone would take the good things in life if they could be had with little or no effort. Fewer are willing to pay the price of discipline in order to achieve them. Only those who have had the discipline to plant in the spring and to nurture their crop throughout the long, hot summer have the right to expect a harvest in the fall.
The purpose of the struggle is to help us grow and become the person we need to be in order to handle responsibly the value once we achieve it. More important than what we achieve or acquire through our struggle is what we become.
Don’t be like the chemist. If you’re down, get up one more time. If you feel like you’ve failed, try one more time. The apostle Paul said, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”(Gal. 6:9)