Don't Quit, You Are A Finisher
By Pastor Michael Olawore
New Wine Church, London
Foundation Scripture: Luke 18:1-8
Sunday 19th June 2016
As we celebrate fathers all over the world today, I would like to encourage and admonish fathers with today’s message, as we round up this series on prayer. Today’s message is titled ‘Don’t Quit, You are A Finisher’.
We go further down in the book of Luke to read today’s foundation scripture. Here is Luke 18:1-8, which reads: ‘One day Jesus told his disciples a story to show that they should always pray and never give up. “There was a judge in a certain city,” he said, “who neither feared God nor cared about people. A widow of that city came to him repeatedly, saying, ‘Give me justice in this dispute with my enemy.’ The judge ignored her for a while, but finally he said to himself, ‘I don’t fear God or care about people, but this woman is driving me crazy. I’m going to see that she gets justice, because she is wearing me out with her constant requests!’” Then the Lord said, “Learn a lesson from this unjust judge. Even he rendered a just decision in the end. So don’t you think God will surely give justice to his chosen people who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will grant justice to them quickly! But when the Son of Man returns, how many will he find on the earth who have faith?” (NLT).
Jesus narrated this story to reveal to us God’s disposition towards our prayers – He is favourably inclined to granting our requests. If an unrighteous judge deemed it necessary to listen and grant the widow’s plea, then our righteous God definitely desires to answer our prayers. It is upon this premise that we can approach our loving God, who will not decline our petition.
The first verse of this chapter reinforced my understanding of prayer, especially as we celebrate Father’s Day today. ‘One day Jesus told his disciples a story to show that they should always pray and never give up'. The NKJV put it this way: ‘Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart.’ In other words, this could be rephrased as a direct call to men: ‘You are not a quitter, you are a finisher!’.
As men, we have been designated to finish our race and to pass on the baton to the next generation. You can’t afford to lose heart, or give in to the circumstances of life. Irrespective of what may have come your way, you’ve been designed for accomplishment and fashioned for success.
Here are seven insights that we can derive from this verse, which I would like to admonish all fathers with:
(1) It is a call to spiritual awakening: This is a call to a deeper walk with God. It is a call to hunger and thirst for Him – the longing to serve, embrace the purpose of God and dedicate our lives to Him. Here is a call to restore fathers and men in general to the frontline. Over the years, men have taken a backseat at home, in the church and in the community. It’s time to reverse this trend and develop a thriving, vibrant relationship with God. As men, our roles as leaders must include interceding for our families, our communities and the future of our nation. God spoke about Abraham in Genesis 18:19, saying: ‘For I have known him, in order that he may command his children and his household after him, that they keep the way of the Lord, to do righteousness and justice, that the Lord may bring to Abraham what He has spoken to him.”
(2) It is a call to take your place: As men, our places in the home, in God’s house, as his sons, in society and in the nation as a whole must be rightly occupied. We’ve been created to shine God’s light to the world around us. Matthew 5:16 alludes to this, when Jesus said: ‘Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven’.
We read the same admonition in Isaiah 60:1; ‘Arise, shine for your light is come and the glory of the Lord is risen upon you’. When God was questioning Adam in Genesis 3:9, asking him ‘Where are you?’, it was to find out his positional orientation. As far as God saw it, Adam had left his place of assignment and responsibility thereby allowing the enemy to deceive and displace the arrangement that God had to put in place initially.
Gideon, described by God as a mighty man of valour had moved away from his primary call of duty and was hiding in the winepress, away from the war that he was supposed to be leading against the Midianites. Our visibility as fathers cannot be overemphasized. We cannot afford to be hiding away. It is time to take our place.
(3) It is a call to establish priority: Matthew 6:33 put it this way: ‘But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you’. God ought to be our priority. As purpose driven men, our vision gives us direction in life. Prayer ought to be our priority, as it connects us with God. As God’s vision becomes our vision and focus, it becomes easier to make an impact for God.
(4) It is a call to take action: The statement ‘men always ought to pray’ is a call to be on guard. It is a call to be on the alert. A call to fight for the destiny of your future and of your home. 1 Peter 5:8 reads: ‘Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour’ (NLT). Here is 1 Corinthians 16:13-14, which reads: ‘Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. Do everything in love’ (NIV).
(5) It is a call to take responsibility: the word ‘ought’ in our foundation scripture denotes responsibility. The responsibility for the destiny of our families ought to be embraced wholeheartedly. 1 Chronicles 15:22 speaks of Kenaniah, the Levite, who was placed in charge of leading the singing in the tabernacle. As a gifted singer, this responsibility became his, because he developed a skill for singing. In the same way, our responsibilities were given to us by God, in accordance to the grace that He has blessed us with and in proportion to our abilities. In other words, we can be rest assured that God will not give us responsibilities beyond our strength and abilities.
(6) It is a call not to lose courage: As fathers, we must never lose sight of the victory that God has assured us. Despite the challenges that face us, we’ve been called to hold on to God’s promises, even in the face of adversity. We must remain tenacious, even when there is no physical evidence as proof to keep on holding on to. Psalm 33:20 reads: ‘We put our hope in the Lord. He is our help and our shield’. See also Micah 7:7 and Romans 4:18-19 (NLT).
(7) It is a call to stay the course and finish the race: You are on a course, on assignment. You are configured by God to finish well. So stay strong, keep heading towards the finish line and set your mind towards completing your course regardless of what you see around. Stay undistracted. Don’t quit, you are a finisher!
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