W illiam Shakespeare said, “I am a kind of burr; I shall stick.” Shakespeare’s words bring to mind encounters my older brother and I had during our boyhood days growing up on a farm in Giles County, TN. Ever hear of a “stick tight?” It is a kind of burr that shows up in several species, some round and some more flat. But they all had one thing in common — they stuck to a pair of wool or cotton socks more tightly than a piece of new Velcro or chewing gum on a head-full of thick hair! And Mama was merciless — her attitude was, “You got them on there, you get them off.” And it wasn’t easy. The round ones were hard enough to remove and the flat ones even harder! Like Velcro, once their little hooks sank into place, they just didn’t want to let go. Interestingly enough, the popular hook-and-loop fastener we now know as Velcro was originally invented by Swiss electrical engineer George de Mestral in 1941. During a walk in the Alps, he wondered why burdock seeds clung to his woolen socks and coat, and his dog Milka. It took several years, but he eventually patented it into what became Velcro in 1955. He continued to refine and develop its application until its commercial introduction in the late 1950s.

So, how good are you at “sticking to it?” That is, how good are you at keeping on keeping on when it isn’t so easy to keep on? Too many people just don’t have enough “stick-to-it-iveness.” They quit too soon and too easily. They bail out or give in or “throw in the towel” much too soon. The result is not only failure at jobs and businesses and athletic and academic achievements, but even worse failed relationships. Failed friendships. Failed marriages. And in the church failed ministries and even failed and fractured fellowship due to an unwillingness to do the hard work of forgiving and reconciling and mending hurts and slights and fences and pains. My studied conviction after more than 50 years as a Christian and gospel preacher is that many people who come into the church of Christ just don’t stick tightly enough. They are too easily pulled away from Christ and the fellowship of His people. In more extreme cases they get stuck in drug or alcohol abuse or immoral relationships. Much more often the problem is they never really got that deeply “hooked” into Jesus Christ. They begin the Christian race to Heaven without realizing it is like a marathon, not a sprint. You don’t just burst out of the baptistry and for a very brief time put your heart and soul into it and then, boom, it’s over. Rather, you must come up from the water and begin a long and determined and sometimes grueling race that frequently requires some sanctified “hard-headed-ness” that keeps going, refusing to quit in spite of some fatigue and pain along the way to the finish line and the reward awaiting those who persevere till the end. You must determine you just won’t quit on Jesus no matter how many times you fail or how many times others around you fail or hurt or let you down. Jesus stuck tight to the end (John 17:4). And so, in the words of the apostle Paul, a man who was a champion at being a stick-tight for Jesus, “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith” (Galatians 6:9-10). Be a stick tight for Jesus!