One of my favorite stories from history is about an old warrior named Gideon who led his army to victory against insurmountable odds. As the story goes, Gideon and his men were badly outnumbered, exhausted, battered and bruised, when they came to a crossing in a river.
The story is found in Judges 8:4 of the Old Testament. The verse reads, “Then Gideon and the 300 men who were with him came to the Jordan and crossed over, weary yet pursuing.”
You have to love a guy who keeps on keeping on and can convince his team to follow. One of the greatest attributes a leader can possess is perseverance.
I was fascinated last night by the finish of the Major League Baseball regular season. The Oakland Athletics somehow managed to win the American League West. Against all odds would be an understatement. On July 1st the A’s trailed the first-place Texas Rangers by 13 games in the standings. Yesterday, the A’s beat the Rangers 12-5 to complete their comeback. They even trailed 5-1 in the deciding game. Talk about never giving up!
A few weeks back it would have been easy for the A’s to throw in the towel on the season. Yet they chose to keep pursuing. Oakland had every reason to make excuses. The big bad Rangers, who played in the last two World Series, were loaded with talent. The A’s were a bunch of no names (I’m guessing you can’t name one player on their roster). And there is nothing more tiring than waking up halfway through a baseball season knowing you are out of the playoff race, trailing by 13 games. And yet the A’s, like Gideon, while weary, kept pursuing.
As I look at my own life and leadership there are several things that make me weary. A lack of resources, challenging relationships, unrealistic expectations, demands on my time, endless meetings, and even a need to be relevant and creative, all cause fatigue from time to time. Each of these can be obstacles, and even enemies, waiting daily to attack me and steal my joy.
Like you and Gideon, I have a decision to make. I can either run and hide, giving in to the pressure, or I can keep on pursuing, seeking to make a difference with my life.
Today, I am choosing to pursue. Just like Gideon, I long to be marked by perseverance. How about you? If there is a place in your life where you have considered folding your hand, I say don’t – Keep swinging. Endure. Persevere. Finish
It is possible to be weary and still pursue. Make that choice, and you might find that your energy will return.
If the A’s and Gideon can make a comeback, you can too. But only if you keep pursuing.
What is the greatest comeback you have ever witnessed?