As a youth I had a poster hanging in my room. The picture on the poster was of a runner on a long road that stretched on into the distance without any visible end. The caption at the bottom of the post loosely quoted Ecclesiastes 9:11 when it read, “The race is not to the swift, but to those who keep on running”. For clarity, here is the actual text of that verse.
11 I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all. Ecc. 9:11Life is not a sprint. It is a test of our endurance. Leadership callings may also test our endurance. One of the traps that leaders often fall into is treating their calling with a sprint-like mentality. Often it is better to slow down, settle into a sustainable pace, and let some of the proximate problems take care of themselves while you take the long view. I invite you to reference another great passage in Ecclesiastes where it says that there is a season and a time for everything (Eccl. 3:1-8). This helps me to keep the challenges of life in perspective.
In D&C 10:4 we are reminded to not run faster or labor more than we have strength and means, and Mosiah 4:27 reminds us that all things should be done in wisdom and order. Consider this quote by Marvin J Ashton:
The ingredient that is essential in learning to endure is consistent effort. In our race for eternal life, pain and obstacles will confront all of us. We may experience heartaches, sorrow, death, sins, weakness, disasters, physical illness, pain, mental anguish, unjust criticism, loneliness, or rejection. How we handle these challenges determines whether they become stumbling stones or building blocks. To the valiant these challenges make progress and development possible. (Marvin J. Ashton, “If Thou Endure it Well”, LDS General Conference October 1984)All of us are in the race of life and will be faced with difficulties. Because leaders are leading with love, they will experience an additional measure of these challenges as they feel the pain and struggles of those who they lead. Endurance is another key trait of effective leadership.
- Eccl. 3:1-8
- D&C 10:4
- Mosiah 4:27
- Jacob 4:14