Be Persistent (The Brother’s Keeper #65)

Even Mo’ Letters to Young Black Men
Letter Thirteen: Be Persistent

Dear Y.B.M.,

You might be talented. You might be educated. You might be well-trained. But, all of that means nothing if you aren’t persistent. Persistence is what sets apart people who accomplish things and who are consistently successful from people who don’t accomplish things and who are not successful on a consistent basis. If you want to make an impact in life, you must be persistent.

The following verses from Scripture compel us to be persistent in all manner of things:

We ought to be persistent in doing good so that we might reap the rewards. Galatians 6:9 says, “Let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”

We ought to be persistent in prayer. Luke 18:1 says, “Jesus spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint.”

We ought to be persistent in the pursuit of righteous living. Proverbs 24:16 says, “A just man falleth seven times, but he riseth up again.”

We ought to be persistent in pursuing the things that we need and the good things that we desire. Luke 11:9-10 says, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.”

Persistence is very important if you want to live a life of fulfillment and blessing. Here are three keys to developing persistence in your life.

First, develop strong habits. If something in your life is working well for you, keep doing that thing over and over again. A car engine works the same way every time you turn the ignition. The car doesn’t decide that it wants to try out a new way to drive every day. Likewise, you must have strong habits if you are going to be persistent in life. Successful people don’t feel like doing everything that they do. But, they discipline themselves and do some things like getting up at 5 AM, spending an hour with God every day, and eating healthily instead of buying fast food, through force of habit.

Second, develop the ability to adjust. Just because someone is persistent, that does not mean everything goes their way all of the time. Persistent people get just as many roadblocks in their way as non-persistent people. The difference is, a persistent person will adjust, adapt, and roll with the punches. While you must have strong habits to succeed in life, you must not be so rigid that you freeze up when the unexpected comes your way. And, rest assured, the unexpected will come your way.

Third, develop a learning mentality. Persistent people are always pushing into new territory, and they must take the time to learn about the environments they find themselves in. A persistent person is humble, knowing that, at times, he must stop to learn about what lies ahead. Persistent people are not arrogant; they are willing to learn from others, particularly those who have walked a similar path. The knowledge you gain today may very well benefit you tomorrow.

In much of life, your success is up to you and your willingness to work hard, adjust well, and learn more.

Be persistent,

Daniel Whyte III

P.T. (Power Thoughts):

Maya Angelou said, “You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”

Calvin Coolidge said, “Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan Press On! has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”

Albert Einstein said, “It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.”

Robert Collier said, “Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.”

Be Generous (The Brother’s Keeper #64)

Letter Twelve: Be Generous

Dear Y.B.M.,

I hope that you are a generous person. If not, what are you waiting for? The dictionary says a generous person is one who shows a readiness to give more of something, such as money or time, than is strictly necessary or expected. There are many benefits to generosity. Scientists have found that generous people are happier at work, have lower stress levels, have better marriages, and may even live longer. Our generosity on earth builds up treasure in Heaven for us. Moreover, the Bible says, “God loves a cheerful giver.”

Here are three reasons why you ought to be generous.

1. Being generous is your duty as a Christian. In Matthew 5:42, Jesus Christ said, “Give to him that asketh thee, and him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.” God expects His children to be the most generous people on earth. Jesus told His disciples, “Freely ye have received; freely give.” Jesus set the ultimate example of giving when He gave His life for us on the cross. Through His sacrifice, He gave us salvation from sin and Hell and eternal life with God. We can never give as much as He gave, but we ought to give to others as much as we can.

2. Being generous is the best way to say thank you. Whether you realize it or not, you are incredibly blessed. If you are alive, if you are able to move and have your being, you have a lot to thank God for. On top of that, other people have given to you in many ways. Your parents gave you life and, if they were good parents, they cared for you, provided for you, and trained you. Your teachers aided your education, helping you gain knowledge where you had none. You can probably name others who have given you advice or help down through the years. It is great to go back and say “thank you” to those people, but it is even better to show your gratitude in a tangible form.

3. Being generous is a way of making a difference in the world. Because of how God and others have made a difference in your life, you ought to want to make a difference in the lives of others. So, pay it forward. Let your gratitude bleed out into your dealings with other people. Do for them as others have done for you. Give to others and give sacrificially. Use your time and resources to help others move along on the road of life. You may not think that you have much to contribute. You may not think that you can really make a difference in the world. But God is not just looking for more wealthy, well-to-do, and well-known people to make the world a better place. He wants everyone to do their part. Jesus told his disciples that a poor widow who gave two pennies to the Lord’s work had given more than the wealthy religious people who had given out of their abundance.

It matters not the amount of money or possessions you have. All that matters is that you have a heart of generosity, one that is willing to give, to give back, and to give without looking for something in return.

Be generous,

Daniel Whyte III

P.T. (Power Thoughts):

David Livingstone said, “I place no value on anything I have or may possess, except in relation to the kingdom of God. If anything will advance the interests of the kingdom, it shall be given away or kept, only as by giving or keeping it I shall most promote the glory of Him to whom I owe all my hopes in time or eternity.”

John Holmes said, “There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up.”

John Bunyan said, “You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.”