"Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up." (Luke 18:1)
There are a lot of background voices in our lives that would discourage us, when what is needed is persistence in prayer. The background voices may be from the apparently overwhelming circumstances, our family and friends - and sometimes in our own heads. And those voices tell us, “Give up! Give up!” It is tragic that many times we are ready to give up on ourselves, on others, and on God, when just around the corner from our desperation is the very miracle God has in store for us.
Enrico Caruso was an Italian tenor who thrilled audiences in Europe and North and South America about 100 years ago. He was one of the first to embrace the new technology known as the phonograph (or gramophone). One of his recordings was the first sound recording to sell one million copies. Though his 290 commercially-produced sound recordings were made from 1902-1920, all of them are available even to this day.
During the days of the first World War, Caruso was asked if he would sing at a concert for the benefit of the soldiers. The chairman of the committee who invited him said, "Of course, Mr. Caruso, as this is a charity affair, we would not expect you to do your best. Your name will draw the crowd. I would suggest that you merely sing some song requiring little strength or skill."
Caruso is said to have drawn himself up to his full height of 5’9”, and with great passion declared, "Caruso never does less than his best."
What a great lesson we followers of Christ should learn from that! Sadly, though, we are far too often lackadaisical in our devotion and service for the One Who Died For Us.
A church I pastored several years ago was facing some major repairs to a very old building. The bottom floor had settled until it was actually below ground level by several inches, and consequently, the entire building was moldy and had a musty, dirty smell. In one of our many meetings about the problem, one of the deacons spoke up and said, “Why can’t we just do enough to get by?”
That apparently was the prevailing attitude. But it was worse than I thought: they eventually did nothing.
My point is that too often followers of Christ just do enough to “get by,” rather than giving it all we’ve got. We offer God the leftovers in our time, our talents, and our resources, and are surprised when the blessings we read about in Scripture are not poured out on us! The Kingdom of God is not built with leftovers.
Today may you be as passionate about the quality of your service to God as Enrico Caruso was about singing opera!