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10 Stories of People Who Didn't Give Up

2020 has been a crazy, challenging, uncertain kind of year, hasn't it?

Many people in our churches have been sick with Covid19. Volunteers have stepped aside from serving. Budgets have been decreased. Attendance has gone down 20-30% in many churches.

Many church leaders have become discouraged...some to the point where they are ready to give up and leave ministry altogether.

Is that you?




Ready to walk away?

I know at times I have been discouraged this past year. At times, I've even felt like quitting and throwing in the towel. But I haven't. Why? Because I am reminded of God's faithfulness. Every time I've become "weary in well doing," He has shown up with a promise that has inspired and encouraged me to keep the faith and finish the race strong.

One way I am encouraged is with stories about people who refused to give up. People who, in spite of adversity, kept going. Let's take a brief look today at 10 people who didn't give up. My prayer is that their stories will inspire you, refill your tank and encourage you to not to give up.

Michael Jordan

Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team — a heartbreaking experience for any teenager. Then he became one of the greatest basketball players in the history of the game.

“I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game winning shot, and I missed. I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed. Obstacles don't have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don't turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.”

J.K. Rowling

One of the most successful authors in history is J.K. Rowling. But Rowling’s fame didn’t come easy. She was a single mother living on welfare, trying to support her daughter. It took her seven years to write the story of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, and when she finished, all twelve major publishing houses rejected the book.

Walt Disney

Disney was fired as a young man from his newspaper job for a lack of good ideas. Then he started his first animation company in 1921, but that quickly went bankrupt.

He ended up eating dog food to survive. If you were subsisting on dog food because of the failure of your first animation company, would you start another animation company? Probably not. But that’s exactly what Walt Disney did. In fact, he had to restart several more times after that before finally becoming successful.

The Beatles

Starting out, the Beatles were turned down by almost every record label. But they didn't quit and the rest is history. They’ve sold over 1.6 billion albums and counting.

Colonel Harland Sanders

Colonel Harland Sanders was the founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) restaurants. Throughout his entire life, he failed in just about every endeavor he was involved in. However, at the age of sixty-five-years old, he set out with his famous chicken recipe and only a $105 social security check to his name, in an attempt to sell his franchise chicken model. 1,009 restaurants rejected him before one accepted his offer.

Dr. Seuss

One of the most celebrated children’s authors of all time is also one of the most famous failures. Dr. Seuss intended to earn his PhD in literature Lincoln College, Oxford, but failed and subsequently dropped out of school. After he wrote his first book, And to Think I Saw it on Mulberry Street, it was rejected 28 separate times. But he didn’t give up. By 1991, at the time of his death, he had sold over 600 million copies of his books in 20 different languages.

Jim Carrey

Jim is a comedic legend. But Carrey grew up extremely poor as a child. At the age of fifteen-years old, Carrey actually worked as a janitor to help his family pay the bills. And during his first performance at Yuk Yuk’s, a comedy club in Toronto, he was booed off stage.

Keanu Reeves

Keanu Reeves suffered through tremendous hardships growing up. At the age of three-years old, his father abandoned his family. His mother married and divorced four separate times, moving him from Australia to Canada, and he eventually ended up in Los Angeles. In 1998, he fathered a child with his then-wife, who died as a stillborn at 8 months. 18 months after their relationship ended, his ex-wife was killed in a car accident.

Tyler Perry

Perry had a rough childhood. He was physically and sexually abused growing up, got kicked out of high school, and tried to commit suicide twice - once as a preteen and again at 22.

In 1992 he wrote, produced, and starred in his first theater production, I Know I’ve Been Changed, somewhat informed by his difficult upbringing. Perry put all his savings into the show and it failed miserably; the run lasted just one weekend and only 30 people came to watch. He kept up with the production, working more odd jobs and often slept in his car to get by. Six years later, Perry finally broke through when, on its seventh run, the show became a success. He’s since gone on to have an extremely successful career as a director, writer, and actor. In fact, Perry was named Forbes’ highest paid man in entertainment in 2011.

Oprah Winfrey

Most people know Oprah as one of the most iconic faces on TV as well as one of the richest and most successful women in the world. Oprah faced a hard road to get to that position, however, enduring a rough and often abusive childhood as well as numerous career setbacks including being fired from her job as a television reporter because she was “unfit for TV.”

I trust these stories have encouraged you and challenged you to not give up. Even when you feel like quitting, just remember that tomorrow will be a better day.

Grab hold of this promise and hang onto it this coming year.

"And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up." Galatians 6:9

Don't quit. Don't give up. Keep paddling. Your best days are just around the river bend.

2021 is going to be your best year ever.


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