PerseveranceHow many times have you been told that you couldn’t do something? Told that you weren’t good enough, big enough, strong enough, talented enough, smart enough? I recently watched the movie, “Rudy,” and it is a story where we find a kid who has been told repeatedly just that.

His brothers tell him that he can’t play anything but center during their playground game of football. His father tells him over and over again that he can’t play for Notre Dame, that he won’t get into college, and that he should just be happy with the factory job, like he has.

His high school football coach reminded him that he would never put on a football uniform again. His teacher tells his that there are “dreamers and doers” in this world, and that dreamers never amount to anything. The university of Notre Dame declined his application 3 times, and when he did finally make it into the university, the coach during tryouts let the walk-on players know that they will never dress for an actual game.

Negative thoughts and rejection seemed to follow Rudy wherever he went, He could have easily, at any point in his life, given up his dream and settled. But all the negative talk never stopped him. He continued on his path, doing everything he could to reach his goal, to play football for the university of Notre Dame.

Perseverance, endurance, endless pursuit of a dream, all things that Rudy possessed. But there was another thing he had that pushed him onward towards his goal. He had Pete. Pete was Rudy’s encourager. He was the one who gave him a Notre dame jacket that he wore throughout the movie, and he was about the only one who told him to chase his dreams, to run the race we call life, and to not let anything get in his way. We all need these people in our lives. We need those who encourage us along the way. Maybe it’s our parents, our friends, a pastor, or someone else, but we need to have encouragers, cheerleaders, those who walk along side of us, making sure we reach the final goal.

But in our lives as Christians, what is the goal, what constitutes a life well lived, a race run, and a race won? What’s the gauge to determine if we won, maybe just if we even ran the race? It is not how many people you introduced to Jesus, not how many food pantries you served at, not how many pies you baked for the bake sale. It’s how you lived your life to the glory of God. It is reaching the end of this life and hearing those words that I know I am anticipating; “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

Another lesson we learn from Rudy is this. Rudy’s desire is to play football for Notre Dame, but there’s more to it. He is doing everything he can to get inside the university. He is joining school activities, volunteering, and even pleading with the groundskeeper at the stadium for a job. Rudy is persistent. His intention, no doubt is to play football, but in one scene he tells the groundskeeper after being asked why he wants the job so bad; “I just want to be a part of this university.”

I just want to be a part of this university, I want to be a part, not the whole, not the star, the leader, the one everyone looks up to, I just want to be a part of the university. Rudy is willing to accept any role, no matter how small, in fact, a non-paying, non-acknowledged, lowly groundskeeper role. But to Rudy, that position serves the university, that which he desires to belong more than anything in the world.

What would it look like, if each of us had that same desire to be a part of the body of Christ? What would it look like if you or I wanted to be a part so bad, that we would do even the most menial of tasks, because then we would be a part of this greater thing. We could belong to the kingdom of God!

Would we be willing to do anything? Would we be willing to risk everything? Would we be willing to sacrifice everything, all for the sake of the body of Jesus Christ? What if we woke up tomorrow morning with the intention to do anything we could, no matter how menial, for the sake of Jesus?

I believe it would look like love of God and love of neighbor, Christian perfection. It would look like lives changed for the glory of God. It would look like the kingdom of God, right here.