The Power of Persistence
It’s that time of year when scholarships are granted to thousands of high school graduates to help them pay those ever increasing tuition, books, and residence bills for their first year of college. I just finished reading several applications for the Rotary scholarships our local club gives to seniors who fulfill the requirements and write a brief essay on The Four Way Test (Is it the truth? Is it fair to all concerned? Will it build goodwill and better friendships? Is it beneficial to all concerned?)
Each member of our committee reads the materials handed in by the seniors, blind—just a number, no personal name. The scholarship awards needed to be based only on the reports in our hands. Before you get discouraged about the present condition of our country, I wish you could read what these seniors wrote and look at all the self-sacrificial, concrete acts of service they reported. What does discourage me is that many other students who could receive funds from other scholarships available across our nation, never fill out the forms because of apathy. There’s money out there, but you have to persist and ask.
Jesus teaches us that this is true when we pray to God. There’s persuasion in the persistent ask.
“Then He (Jesus) said to them (His disciples), ‘Suppose one of you has a friend and you go to them at midnight and say, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread. You see my friend, who is traveling, suddenly showed up off the road at my place, and I have nothing to give him.’ The one inside will answer like this, ‘Don’t bother me! The door is already bolted and my children are with me in bed. I can’t get up to give to you.’ Then Jesus emphasized the point. ‘Get this! You’re not going to get your friend to get up because of your friendship. You will get him up by your persistent, shameless knocking!
I also tell you, ‘Keep asking and it will be given to you. Keep seeking and you will find. Keep knocking and it will be opened to you. For the ones who ask receive, and the ones who seek, find, and the ones who keep knocking—they get the doors opened.’” Luke 11:5-10
All wise folks know that persistence reveals whether or not someone actually wants something, but Jesus is teaching us about what His Father responds to when His children pray. He’s telling us to have holy, aggressive persistence when we ask our Father to provide daily needs, to forgive us, and to keep us out of harm’s way when it comes to confrontation with the Evil One.
Jesus also is going to reveal the biggest, hairiest, audacious ASK His disciples can make before the Father. Stay tuned because Luke is going to have Jesus tell us in a couple of days.
LORD, when I was a boy I hated to make the “ask.” I even manipulated my younger brother into asking dad and mom for the things I wanted. It’s pride that keeps me from just coming out with it when I need help. Father, help me to grow in holy persistence, especially when I talk to You.
Note: The Four Way Test came to Herbert J. Taylor, a business man, who in the early 1930s was facing bankruptcy. He was praying about changing the ethical culture of his company. When he finished praying, he jotted down The Four Way Test.
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