The Intangibles of Urgency and Grit – Part 2
– By Steve Smith –
In part 1 we focused on the essential characteristic of “urgency.” We now turn our attention to…
Grit: tenacious determination and staying power toward a mission, often in the face of insurmountable odds
Rooster Cogburn (epitomized by John Wayne in True Grit), guns ablazin’, conjures up images of someone staring down insurmountable odds to achieve a mission. But in the spiritual realm, tenacious grit has always characterized men and women God has called to launch movements.
Jesus’ one-term mission could not be stopped. His face was set like a flint toward the troubles that awaited him in Jerusalem (Lk. 9:51-53). Along the way, many declared their desire to follow Him. But one by one, He challenged their willingness to count the cost and their determination to stay the course (Lk. 9:57-62). Grit.
Grit characterized our Lord’s wrestling in the wilderness temptations and in Gethsemane’s final hour—the determined staying power to walk through insurmountable odds to reach the goal the Father had set.
Jesus implored His disciples to live with similar grit—an unwillingness to take “no” for an answer. Rather, like the widow beseeching the unrighteous judge, they “ought always to pray and not lose heart” (Lk. 18:1-8).
Thus, the disciples throughout Acts continued their outward kingdom push in the face of amazing odds. When Stephen was stoned and fellow believers were dragged off to prison (Acts 8:3), what did they do? They preached the word as they were scattered! Paul, stoned in Lystra, got right back up to re-enter the city before moving on to the next destination. Paul and Silas, bound fast in a Philippian jail, sang praises to the Most High when circumstances were the most low. Spiritual grit kept them at the mission.
What circumstances can arise that would cause you to quit the mission of God? What is your grit level?
Secrets of grit can be found in Jesus’ determination to face the cross:
Jesus…who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising [lit. counting it as nothing] the shame. (Heb. 12:2)
The joy of what was before Him—pleasing His Father, fulfilling His mission, providing redemption—led him to count the shame of the cross as nothing. The upside far outweighed the downside.
Paul expressed similar sentiments.
Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. (2 Tm. 2:10)
The upside for Paul—that God’s chosen people in each place might find salvation—far outweighed the downside of enduring ridicule, beatings, imprisonment, shipwrecks and stoning. Only a vision of the upside of the mission will steel us with the grit we need to endure the downside of difficulty to achieve it.
Our generation has within its means the ability to engage every remaining unreached people group and place with fruitful CPM approaches. We have within our ability the means to overcome every obstacle to fulfillment of the Great Commission and the Lord’s return. But such a generation will only rise up when it is resolved to finish the task with a renewed sense of urgency, steeled by grit to push through every obstacle.
Moses, the man of God, prayed in Psalm 90:12:
So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.
What would happen if the global church recognized that time is limited? What if we set a date for completion of engaging every people group with an effective CPM strategy by a year such as 2025 or 2030? Perhaps we might live with wiser hearts filled with a sense of urgency, making whatever sacrifices are needed to fulfill the mission objective.
Let us live with a sense of urgency and endure with grit till the end is at hand.
Steve Smith, Th.D. (1962-2019) was co-facilitator of the 24:14 Coalition and author of multiple books (including T4T: A Discipleship Re-Revolution). He catalyzed or coached CPMs all over the world for almost two decades.
Edited from an article originally published in the January-February 2017 issue of Mission Frontiers, missionfrontiers.org, pages 40-43, and published on pages 239-247 of the book 24:14 – A Testimony to All Peoples, available from 24:14 or Amazon.