Jesus tells us that the key to effective prayer and living is to "Keep on asking, and you will be given what you ask for. Keep on looking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened" (Matthew 7:7).
I sometime feel frustrated when I have to do the "knocking" or "asking" in life. I expect an older generation of ministers to be responsible enough to recognize my giftings and set me in a rightful place of ministry. The truth is few people want to open their own doors in life, but sometimes that's just what is needed.
I am reminded of my mom's past ministry in a school ministry. She literally begged teachers and principals to let a school assembly happen, begged donors to give, begged youth pastors in the area to rally behind it. She encountered countless obstacles, "no's," "We've never done it that way before's," "It's against our theology of salvation's," "We'll never raise the money's," and on and on. Dozen's of time per school she wanted to give up.
But she kept on with a vision for what could and should be she continued on by the grace of God.
The end result was hundreds of students responding to follow Christ who would have previously never set foot in a church, grateful and surprised youth pastors, fulfilled donors and an ecstatic school staff.
There just needed to be one person with a overflow of vision and persistence who wouldn't give up. Someone who understood the principle of knocking.
The same is true of the story of how the drive-through window got in so many fast food restaurants.
A man working for McDonald's many years ago had the brilliant idea. He begged and begged for the idea to be used. Finally, just to stop his requests, they put one drive through window in one McDonald's restaurant. The results were staggering and the rest is history.
Now they have drive through marriage windows in Vegas (the idea probably shouldn't be transferred to some services).
The same tenacity is true of Howard Schultz, the founder of the Starbucks coffee stores we know today. He begged for over a year to be the marketing director of then just a bean wholesaler called Starbucks. He then met with the chief shareholders to share his heart over dinner. They turned him down. A day later, he begged them to reconsider and was brought on.
He spent several frustrating years trying to convince the company to set up stores like what he saw in Italy, but with no prevail. He ventured out to start his own company known as Il Giornale, which we now know as Starbucks coffee today. He ended up buying his previous employer's company for 4 million dollars in 1987. I'm so thankful he kept knocking on the door!
The same tenacity is true of Billy Graham, and his close ties to President's throughout his lifetime. Early in his ministry, he made several attempts trying to get a meeting with President Truman, and eventually succeeded. Today, we know him as a spiritual adviser to generations of Presidents, as well as someone God has used to bring countless millions to Christ.
This principle of knocking can be clearly seen in the life of every entrepreneur, inventor ... and Christ follower.
There is a time to wait on God, but there is also a time to knock.
It hurts our pride to be the one seeking our own place of service, but if we continue with God-given vision and confidence and never give up, the door will be opened.
"From the days of John the Baptist until now, the Kingdom of Heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men and women lay hold of it" (Matthew 11:12).