Some of mankind's greatest contributions have come from people who decided that no sacrifice was too large and no effort too great to accomplish what they set out to do. Edward Gibbon spent 26 yeas writing The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Noah Webster worked diligently for 36 years to bring into print the first edition of his dictionary. It is said that the Roman orator Cicero practiced before friends every day for 30 years in order to perfect his public speaking. What stamina! What persistence!
Now let's think about how much energy we put into the Lord's work. The comparison can be rather embarrassing. And it should lead us to ask ourselves some heart-searching questions: Why is our service for Christ sometimes performed in a half hearted manner? Why do some people who pursue earthly goals put us to shame with their diligence? Think of what happens when we take lightly our service. A deacon neglects his responsibilities, and the interest of others declines. A Sunday school teacher prepares poorly, and his class fails to respond. A faithful churchgoer does not persevere in prayer, and he wonders why there are no answers.
-Sermons Illustrated November/December 1988