The word “endure” is used 112 times in Scripture. It must be a pretty important concept. We know we are called to “keep on keeping on.” The Christian life is not designed to be a plush, easy life. It comes with challenges. Some words from William Barclay are rattling in my mind, “Endurance is not just the ability to bear a hard thing, but to turn it into glory.” The reason we are called to endure is so that God will receive glory. Therefore, it is worth the pain.
Paul uses the word “endure” four times in his first letter to the Corinthians. While describing ministry, he says, “To the present hour we hunger and thirst, we are poorly dressed and buffeted and homeless, and we labor, working with our own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; when slandered, we entreat. We have become, and are still, like the scum of the world, the refuse of all things” (1 Corinthians 4:11-13). The contrast is striking. They are being reviled and they repay it with blessings. They are being persecuted and they do not quit. They are willing to press forward for the cause of Christ.
Paul continues the concept of endurance in 1 Corinthians 9:12, “If others share this rightful claim on you, do not we even more? Nevertheless, we have not made use of this right, but we endure anything rather than put an obstacle in the way of the gospel of Christ.” Paul reminds us that our goal and purpose in life should be to glorify Christ. We do not want our bad attitude or harsh words to become “an obstacle in the way of the gospel of Christ.” Our desire should be to bring people to Christ, not block the opportunity. There are times by our enduring a bad situation that others will notice and ask where we find this hope and strength. It is in Jesus.
In 1 Corinthians 10:13, Paul points out that God will help, “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”No matter how bad the situation gets, we do not have to make the wrong choice or even say the hurtful words. We can stand strong because He is faithful.
Finally, in 1 Corinthians 13:7, Paul describes love, “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” This might seem like an odd verse to end a devotion on endurance in the workplace, but it should relate. When Jesus was asked which is the greatest commandment, He said to love God. He then quickly added that we need to love others. Endurance is easier when you love. Love those whom God has placed around you and over you at work. Pray for them. Encourage them. When you take these steps, enduring proves to be valuable and fruitful for the Kingdom.