I have a confession to make – I’m a HUGE Rocky fan. I’ve seen all the movies – multiple times. I own all the movies. A perfect day for me would be binging on all things Rocky – including a HUGE bag of popcorn, and a case of Diet Coke as I watch one Rocky movie after another… I can only imagine (oh wait – that’s already a song)!
The common thread in the Rocky franchise is unrelenting determination. Quitting wasn’t in his vocabulary. During his classic battles, on more than one occasion, more than one person would yell “stay down! Stay down!” They’d seen him take an incredible beating and they didn’t want it to continue.
Yet somehow, Rocky manages to get to his feet and get his fifth, sixth or seventh wind and make a final surge that would knock his opponent, and sometimes himself, to the mat.
In one of the final installments in the series, Rocky is talking to his grown son and says “… it ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward – that’s how winning is done.”
There is no quit in Rocky. He is the picture of determination and an unwillingness to accept defeat whether it is Clubber Lane, Apollo Creed or the entire Soviet Block Empire!
Luke 14 paints another picture of determination. The master prepares a great feast and when everything is ready, he instructs his servants to bring in the guests. One after one they make excuses as to why they can’t attend. He doesn’t cancel the banquet. He doesn’t sulk over the rejection and nurse the wounds of low self-esteem. Instead, the master tells his servants to go to the streets and bring in the disadvantaged and outcast of society, yet there is still room. In one final effort to fill his house he directs his servants to go into the highways and hedges and compel people to come in so that his house will be full.
Do you sense his determination? He wasn’t going to take “no” for an answer. Not once, not twice, but three times he sent his servants to bring in the people.
Why was he so determined?
The master knew those that who would come into His house would experience joy (see the end of verse 24). They would be fed. They would enjoy the company of others. They would escape the elements of living on the streets and much more. Likewise, Jesus knows we will be blessed if we accept His invitation therefore He’s determined that His house, the church, be filled.
So where do we find ourselves in the story. Contrary to societal norms we are not the master. That’s obviously Jesus. We are the servants. We play a pivotal role. We are the messengers inviting people out of the streets of loneliness, hopelessness and fading pleasure and into an everlasting feast of joy. But are we being obedient? Are we really searching the back streets and cul-de-sacs for people who need what Jesus offers?
As his messengers, do we reflect the passion of the Master? I believe in many cases we have forgotten the message we were commissioned to share and we’ve gone out into the streets to fill our time with other pursuits.
We need to recapture that holy determination if you will. A determination driven by our own walk with the Lord and spurred by our love for people. Somebody will come, if we’ll continue pray for them. Somebody will come if we’ll continue to invite them. Somebody will come if keep asking, seeking and knocking.
I’m not talking about harassment, but I am talking about a passionate persistence. A holy determination that does not give up even when faced with rejection after rejection after rejection.
God does not quit inviting those He created to experience His love and forgiveness. God is determined to search for people who will respond to His invitation. (2 Chron 16:9)
As we intentionally scatter the seeds of God’s truth across Louisiana via our Here for You multi-media outreach initiative, let’s be determined to share the messages in any and every way we can. Let’s be determined and be prepared to take advantage of the spiritual discussions that will surface as more and more people are exposed to these message spots. Let’s be determined to extend the invitation again and again and again.
God is determined that His house be full. Let’s not settle for anything less. That’s how winning is done. (Gal.6:9)