Qualities Of Persistent People

He who watches the wind will not sow and he who looks at the clouds will not reap.

–Ecclesiastes 11:4

In Ecclesiastes 11, Solomon gave us three qualities of a persistent person. Yesterday we saw that a persistent person, first of all, makes multiple efforts. Second, a persistent person accepts some failures in life. Look at verse 3: “If the clouds are full, they pour out rain upon the earth; and whether a tree falls toward the south or toward the north, wherever the tree falls, there it lies.” Solomon was saying not every effort you make is going to succeed. When it rains, sometimes the rain falls in the ocean, and other times it falls where people can use it. When a tree falls in a storm, sometimes it falls on nobody’s land, and other times it falls on the land of somebody who can use it. In the same way, not every effort we make is going to be successful, but some of our efforts will. And a persistent person accepts that some of his efforts will fail.

That leads to a third characteristic: a persistent person refuses to focus on his circumstances. Verse 4 says, “He who watches the wind will not sow and he who looks at the clouds will not reap.” A farmer who is always worrying about the weather will make excuses not to plant or harvest. In the same way, if you keep looking at your circumstances, you will always find a reason not to do what you should do.

Eugene Kennedy wrote, “‘If I can just get through this problem, then everything will be all right.’ This may be one of the most common of English sentences, a tribute to human optimism and a footnote to almost any season of an individual’s life. There comes a time–and it may be the birth of maturity–when we suddenly realize that if we do get through our present problem, there will be another one, slightly larger and a little more intense, waiting to take its place.”

If you wait for ideal circumstances to begin doing what you should do, you will never begin. Take your finances for example. Maybe you are not giving to God’s work as you know you should, and you say to yourself, “When my situation improves, then I will give God what belongs to Him.” Or maybe you know you ought to exercise, but you think, “I just don’t have time right now.” What about your relationship with God? Maybe you are not spending time with God like you should be. And you have excuses: you are waiting for the kids to leave home, or you are waiting until you have a comfortable chair in which to read the Bible.

That is foolish living. The successful person does not concentrate on his circumstances but moves forward in spite of them.


Today’s devotion is excerpted from “The Power of Persistence” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2009.

Eugene Kennedy, “Living with Everyday Problems” (Chicago: Thomas More: 1974), 9.

Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org.

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