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The NV ULC Board of Directors has granted permission for members of our congregation to make copies of, and use this lesson.
Theme: Persistence in Prayer and Work
Materials: an awl or ice pick, an unfinished model airplane, embroidery work, painting or another article that has been started but not finished.
Boys, did you ever start to build a model airplane-and then quit? (hold up an unfinished model airplane). Girls, have you ever started to embroider a towel or paint a picture-and never finished it? (display these). My, how interested you were the first half hour, perhaps the first day or so! But something happened. The newness wore off, the glue didn't stick right, the thread knotted, or the paint didn't look right - so you've got tired of the project and gave up. Today it is just as unfinished as it was when you quit working on it.
These things remind us of certain people. After they have believed in God, they sort of give up and don't trust the Lord or exert themselves to develop their character. That was what St. Paul was rebuking the Galatians for (Galatians 5:7). The Lord urges us through His word to go onto perfection, or to the completion of the work God has called us to do (Hebrews 6:1). When we allow our interests to lag, we look in God's sight, like an incomplete person. Because the Lord doesn't want us to be quitters, he urges us to be steadfast, unmovable, and always abounding in the work of the Lord. He encourages us by reminding us that our labor is not in vain in the Lord (1 Corinthians 15:58).
Has any of you ever seen an awl that sort of looks like an ice pick? (show whatever you have and explain its sharp point). Awls were widely used in the past for punching holes in leather to make harnesses for horses.
In 1812, a little boy in France had a horrible accident while using an awl. As a result, he lost his sight completely. At the time, he was only three years old. Let's close our eyes for a moment and try to imagine what it would be like if we never saw the light again. Never to see a flower, a bird, or the faces of our family and friends. We'd feel sad because there wouldn't be much we could do to help others, and we'd know that others would often have to help us.
But Louis, the boy who lost his sight, never spent time feeling sorry for himself. As he grew older, he determined that he'd go on and finish the work he thought that God wanted him to do. He went to school with children who could see, for there were no special schools for those who were blind, as there are today. Yet he learned his lessons, became a fine organist, and then went to the Paris Institute for the Blind. At age 19, he became an instructor at that same school.
One day, in a restaurant, a friend him of an army captain who was sending unusual messages at night to his men who were stationed where no light was permitted. The captain had been punching holes in pieces of paper and the men would read his message by filling in holes with their fingers. Suddenly, Louis jumped to his feet and began shouting. Then, remembering where he was, he sat down and said; "Now I can open the windows so the blind could see."
Louis began working with enthusiasm that anyone could have, as you did when you started making something (point to an unfinished article). But days, weeks, and months went by, and working out a simple alphabet with holes was a slow job. Five years went by. Finally, Louis appeared before the Institute for the Blind with a whole book printed with raised dots. He read part of it to the teachers. But instead of clapping for him and being grateful for his work, they claimed he memorized the portion he read. They rejected his work after five years of sacrifice, time, and effort.
But Louis never gave up. He didn't stop, although he had every reason to. Blind people came to his home secretly. With an awl, (show this again) the tool that made him blind, he punched holes into paper, and taught his blind friends how to read.
While Louis was dying, at the early age of 43, someone brought him word that his system had been accepted and that blind people would learn how to read. Eagerly, Louis exclaimed, "thanks God that my life has not been in vain." If Louis' Braille had only been started, and then had given up, he could never have had the joy of knowing his life was worth something. Neither can you, if you get into the habit of quitting what you've started.
Do any of you know what persistence means? It means keeping on, enduring, or continuing without change. The lord wants people to be persistent in prayer and in work, not quitting if God chooses to withhold the answer for a time. Are you persistent in your praying, or do you usually quit praying for someone or something after a few days? If you will faithfully ask the Lord to give you the endurance to keep on praying, even when things seem hard, he will help you finish the work you start, and He'll surprise you with wonderful surprises to your prayers.
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