Simply looking at the ratings Jay Leno is at the top of late night TV. Leno has twice as many viewers as Letterman and four times as many as Conan and Jimmy Kimmel. But early on there was a time when it didn’t look so promising for him.

It was in 1992 when Jay first took over the job from Johnny Carson. It was at the same time a disappointed David Letterman left to start his own show on CBS. The first couple of years Jay lost in the ratings and there were times when his future at NBC was uncertain. So how did he climb to the top? Bob Wright, CEO of NBC, said "Jay put his head down and wrote three more jokes every night. Talent by itself is not necessarily reliable. He has talent, and he is willing to work long hard hours at it." In an online article from of Fortune Magazine, Leno’s comment was, "Show business is not hard. It’s all just basic Dale Carnegie stuff." 

I get motivated when I read stories about success that come from hard work. One reason is that those who succeed in business, sports, and entertainment do it for what the apostle Paul calls a corruptible crown. Christ-followers, on the other hand, make every effort toward an incorruptible crown — one that never fades away. 

If those guys can work that hard for the chance to make money, can't we work a little harder for the chance to change the world?

Success, or by a more meaningful name— effectiveness, in the Christian life is not "just basic Dale Carnegie stuff." There’s more to it than that. But we can learn a lesson from Leno: Work hard. And when you’re down, work a little harder. That’s perseverance.

Newt Gingrich said in the New York Times; "Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you already did." 

The Bible says; "Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever." (1 Corinthians 9:24-25)

 The 19th century philosopher, Karl von Clausewitz, said; “There is a point beyond which perseverance can only be termed desperate folly." Ok, maybe sometimes… but not for Christ-followers. Not when it comes to living for Jesus. No sacrifice is too great, no challenge too big, no journey too far, when compared to the incorruptible crown that awaits us in Christ Jesus.


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