Doug Johnson: Ignore the obstacles, keep being persistent

Published 12:00 am Sunday, April 14, 2024

Years ago, a young man saw a “help wanted” ad in a small Massachusetts paper asking for someone to assist the office manager of a brokerage house in Boston.

Applications were to be mailed to Box 1720 in Boston.

The young man wrote the best letter of application he knew how.

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When no reply came, he wrote a second letter. Still no reply.

Though discouraged, he did not quit. He rewrote his letter, changing the wording, improving the construction.

Still he received no reply from his third letter.

He knew that success required persistence.

So he took a train to Boston, went directly to the post office and asked, “Who rents box 1720?”

The clerk replied that to give out such information was against the law. 

The young man hunted for box 1720, then waited hours until someone came.

He followed the person to one of Boston’s largest brokerage houses.

When the manager heard his story, he said, “My young friend, you are just the type we are looking for. The job is yours.”

Thus, began the career of Roger Babson, one of America’s illustrious statisticians. 

Throughout history we can see how ordinary men and women overcame various obstacles and achieved greatness through simple persistence. 

Shortly after the turn of the century, a young man in Missouri enrolled in the State Teachers College in Warrenburg to get an education.

He was poor and could not afford to live in town, so he commuted three miles each day by horseback in order to attend classes.

He had only one good suit. His coat was too thin.

He tried out for the football team and was rejected.

In spite of his obvious determination and courage, the young student was developing a deep-seated inferiority complex.

His mother urged him to do something that would demonstrate his real potential, so he tried public speaking. Unfortunately, he failed at that too.

At this stage in his life, everything the young man did ended in failure. 

Yet Dale Carnegie kept on and eventually became the best-known teacher of public speaking in history.

The one who had failed at speaking became the personal manager of radio’s celebrated newscaster and author Lowell Thomas and developed a course of instruction on “How to Win Friends and Influence People” that made him a millionaire. 

Even Jesus taught about being persistent when seeking answers to our needs.

He illustrated this in Luke 18:2-8, “There was in a city a judge, which did not fear God nor man: and there was a widow in that city; and she came to him, saying, ‘Avenge me of my adversary.’

And he would not hear her at first: but after a while he said to himself, ‘Though I do not fear God nor man; yet because this widow troubles me every day, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.’ And Jesus said, ‘Hear what the unjust judge said. And shall not God avenge His own children, which cry day and night unto him persistently? I tell you that He will avenge them quickly.’” 

So, whether you are pursuing a life-long dream, a worth-while goal, or an answer to your prayers, don’t give up.

Persistence is a biblical concept that works!

Rev. Doug Johnson is the senior pastor at Raven Assembly of God in Raven, Virginia.