Squirrels live in the woods behind my house. They must find enough food there. Yet a few years ago they discovered the bird feeder in our yard. Scurrying up the tree, they perched precariously on top of the feeder. Last year my husband moved the bird feeder to our over-sized obsolete satellite dish. When the squirrels managed to find it, we were amazed. We could not understand how they could reach it.
This year my husband saw a squirrel leap through the air from our neighbour’s tree, carefully walk across the mesh dish, and jump onto the top of the feeder. After eating some seeds and scattering others on the ground below, the squirrel dropped down onto the grass. I was glad my husband had witnessed that squirrel. Now we understood how those squirrels reached a bird feeder, dangling in the air.
Since we wanted birds to eat the seeds, not squirrels, my husband had a bright idea. He hung the bird feeder to the large arm at the back of the satellite dish. The next day he looked out our back bedroom window and saw a squirrel perched on the top of the feeder. We wondered how it could get there. What persistence! What danger! That squirrel knew what it wanted and risked falling from a high distance to get it. Those squirrels persevered to gain the prize—bird seed. God promises believers will persevere for the ultimate prize—eternal life with him. And he gives us the strength to do it.
The Apostle Paul viewed the Christian life as a race. Likewise, the writer to the Hebrews urged his readers “to run with perseverance the race marked out” for them (Hebrews 12:1, NIV). We do this by fixing our eyes on Jesus, who endured the shame of the cross for the joy to follow. “Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart” (Hebrews 12:3, NIV). Those whose spiritual eyes remain focused on Jesus will persevere to the end.