For most of the years I was privileged to pastor the great Fort Mill Church of God I led them in an annual 40-day fast at the beginning of the year. I would challenge them to make a commitment to give up something they liked or liked to do for forty days and instead focus their attention and efforts on drawing closer to God.
Day 1 of the Fast always began on Wednesday and we’d have a packed house as we opened with a big celebration. On day-one I would start a countdown. Day 1 of 40!, Day 2 of 40!, Day-3 of 40!, etc. The momentum would always be high and participation strong.
But without fail, somewhere around the third week the people would began to grow weary. Sacrifice, no matter how noble or sincere, can be draining. And that was true with the sincere and committed congregation of the FMCOG. Momentum would lag, participation would begin to taper off and the season of fasting became more of burden than a joy. That’s when I’d change the countdown.
I’d change from talking about how many days we had fasted to how many days were left in the fast. In other words, I moved from talking about the journey to talking about the finish line.
I encouraged my people by reminding them that there were only two weeks left, only 10 days left, only 5 days left, hang in there—just a few days and it will be celebration time! And then, without fail, Day-40 would arrive! And talk about a celebration time!
I mention this today to remind you that your feelings right now are not indicative of how you will fill when you finish. Stay focused on where you’re going, not where you are at the moment. This too shall pass…and oh the joy that awaits you.
- The ONE THING for today: Your feelings will tempt you to get caught up in the moment; your convictions will keep you focused on how you will feel when you finish. Stay true to your convictions no matter how you feel.
Genesis 29:20 (NKJV)
So Jacob served seven years for Rachel, and they seemed only a few days to him because of the love he had for her.