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#89   Effort vs.

Looking back over the experiences of my life so far, I discover that I have accomplished a lot more by faith than I have by effort. Work is a factor of course; good work is always worthwhile, and it gives you something to do in the meantime. Honest work always makes you feel stronger and better about yourself, whereas just waiting and hoping gives you too much idle time to dwell on all your old fears and past disappointments. Hoping and waiting in a state of uncertainty always gives you a feeling of helplessness about your life, while positive action is generally beneficial to both body and spirit.

Faith is stronger than either hope or work, and it may just be stronger than anything on earth.

The basic law of the universe is "What you believe, you receive." Simple, effective, and absolute. (Take time every so often to look at your casual thoughts to see what you are believing - it might not be what you really want to receive.)

When you have a strong earnest desire, that’s a gift. When it’s a deep quiet one that lingers, whispers to you when you’re falling asleep, or comes to you as the first thought in the morning slipping into your mind just before you wake – that’s your spirit talking to you. That’s a gift asking permission to be given.

But you’ve got to set yourself in motion in order to let it come. You’ve got to go for it – put your heart out there – put your body on the line. And when the starter’s gun goes off, run the best race you can, and believe, no matter what the odds are, that you might win. If you throw your heart out in front of you and try to catch up with it, you will run a glorious race, a better race than you ever dreamed you could, and in truth, you might win. One thing is certain: when you give your best to what your heart asks for, no matter what your number is at the finish line, you know in your heart you have won.

God’s gifts are made manifest in our lives not by effort but by Grace, and endeavor helps them into form. Our part in this partnership is to faithfully do the work that is ours to do this day, and trust God for the outcome (which very often turns out to be different and better than the one we planned). On one hand, effort is episodic, fragmented, frustrating and random. But endeavor is different – endeavor is a focused commitment. Endeavor is a kind of action that is made out of patience, dedication and faith. “Believe you have received it, and it shall be yours.”

Faith works; it’s the winner’s edge. That’s the difference.