At our Life Group tonight, we recalled the message from Rudy Ruettiger at last week’s services. Although there were several highlights, we all agreed that the main gift he gave us was a walking definition of perseverance. Time and time again, he’d tenaciously focus on a goal until it was a reality. The same dedication that willed him on to the Notre Dame football field eventually took him to Hollywood, where his story would inspire Kobe Bryant and the next generation.

We stumbled upon the distinction in reading James 1:2-4 in several versions of the Bible.

From the New Century Version:

2 My brothers and sisters, when you have many kinds of troubles, you should be full of joy, 3 because you know that these troubles test your faith, and this will give you patience.4 Let your patience show itself perfectly in what you do. Then you will be perfect and complete and will have everything you need.

From the New International Version:

2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Patience versus perseverance. Or are they the same thing?

Clearly, they are interchangeable biblically.

Perhaps our culture has mistakenly relegated patience to a passive activity, when in fact, it is an active responsibility.

As Rudy clearly showed us, we can be patient in waiting for God’s time and simultaneously persevering, taking steps to move us closer to our goals. He didn’t share this quote, but I think it summarizes his message very well.

“Pray as though everything depended on God. Work as though everything depended on you.”
~ St. Augustine