Do something once… succeed the first time. Beat your chest and boast!
That does not require much courage.
Do something once… fail. Get back up. Do it again.
That requires courage.
Right now I’m reading the story of the formation of the church (I’m reading the Bible book of Acts).
There were a lot of people opposed to this new movement. They vigorously debated and violently combated this young movement.
One of the leading spokesmen of this young movement was a man named Paul (a former antagonist of the church). He was in the city of Antioch telling people about Jesus (the primary message of the church) when he met violent opposition.
In three sentences Luke, the author of the book of Acts, gives us a great picture of courage…
Now some Jews arrived from Antioch and Iconium and turned the crowds into a murderous mob. They stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, apparently dead. But as the believers stood around him, he got up and went back into the city. (Acts 14:19-20 NLT)
If you read on you will see that the opposition did not end… but you will also see that Paul kept showing up. In the end his courage… his refusal to go away… his determination to keep showing up won the day! The opposition faded and the church was established.
That’s courage! Showing up! Getting beat. Then showing up again… and again… and again!
One of my favorite songs is by the old rocker, Tom Petty. It is the song I blared over my radio as Sherri and I traveled to the beach following my graduation from college (I had dropped out of high school, so college was my first diploma). The pertinent part goes like this:
Well I won’t back down
No I won’t back down
You can stand me up at the gates of hell
But I won’t back down
No I’ll stand my ground, won’t be turned around
And I’ll keep this world from draggin me down
gonna stand my ground
… and I won’t back down
(I won’t back down…)
Hey baby, there ain’t no easy way out
(and I won’t back down…)
hey I will stand my ground
and I won’t back down
Well I know what’s right, I got just one life
in a world that keeps on pushin me around
but I’ll stand my ground
…and I won’t back down
What are you facing right now that demands courage from you? Are you willing to show up… again?
If you can’t beat that thing down in the first round… then wear it down with your courageous persistence! Keep showing up!