Compel

There once was a time when boys sold newspapers on the streets of big cities. Some were better at the job than others. One young man, in particular, was top notch. As a man passed by him on the street one day, the young fellow asked, “Buy a paper, Mister?” The man answered, “Sorry, son, I can’t read.” Without pausing for a moment the boy replied, “That’s okay, Mister. Buy one anyway, carry it in your hand, and people won’t know that you can’t read.” Now there’s a salesman!

We Christians tend to give up too easily in our attempts to share the gospel. The slightest excuse stops us dead in our tracks. Who knows how many times just a little bit of persistence would produce the desired result?

In Luke 14:16-24, Jesus tells one of His many parables regarding the kingdom of God. I won’t go into all the details of the parable, but the famous line from it is found in verse 23:

Then the master said to the servant, ‘Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.’

The operative word there is “compel.” It translates the Greek word anankazo, which means to constrain by persuasion, force, or even threat. It’s the same word used in Matthew 14:22 and Mark 6:45, both of which say that Jesus “made” (N.K.J.V.) His disciples get into the boat. So, basically, it’s a pretty serious word. Certainly it’s a whole lot more serious than most of us Christians are about inviting lost people into the kingdom of God.

I have no idea why the Lord led me to write on this subject today, but I’m guessing that someone who reads this has tried unsuccessfully in times past to witness to a certain person. Well, I want to encourage you to make another attempt with that individual. Will the outcome be different this time? I don’t know. Let’s face it, you might get rebuffed again. But then again, this time the person might be much more open to what you have to say. You just never know. One thing’s for sure, though: If you give up easily, you’ll stand no chance of ever winning the person to Christ.

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