This week’s Monday School is inspired by a story Jesus told in Luke 18:1-8. The story is called The Parable of the Persistent Widow.

First, we’re introduced to the judge. Jesus described him as one who had no regard for God or people and the judge admitted it. In other words, the judge was selfish and probably corrupt. Then Jesus told about the widow. The widow went to the judge over and over and over about an injustice she experienced. We’re never told what happened to the widow, only that she demanded justice against her adversary consistently and relentlessly. The judge grew weary of her continual demands and finally granted her the justice she sought.

Jesus made this point. If an uncaring, selfish judge will give proper justice to the poor widow, how much more will our loving God give justice when we seek it?

But the best part of the entire story isn’t the story at all. Verse one says, “Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.” Another Bible version says, “always pray and never lose hope.’ Still another, “always pray and don’t lose heart.” My favorite part of the parable is WHY Jesus told the parable.

Think about it. The widow had no tangible resources. No network of friends that could help. She was poor, alone, and helpless. The only thing she had was grit. Maybe you call it moxie. Some say tenacity. Even so, I’m sure there were days she was as tired of seeing the heartless judge as he was her. Tired of hearing the same answer day after day. But she didn’t give up and she didn’t back down.

Jesus told this story so we would always pray and never give up. When it seems too hard and the waiting is too long. When the light at the end of the tunnel is gone. When it feels like we love or work or give in vain.

We pray and we don’t give up. We keep hoping. We keep loving. And we keep working.

This story makes me think of one of my favorite classic rock songs, I Won’t Back Down by Tom Petty. When I hear this song, I can’t help but feel more confident and determined about anything I’ve resolved to do. If you haven’t heard the song in a while, I encourage you to look it up on your music app and add to your playlist.

The lyrics are simple and powerful.

“I Won’t Back Down” 

Well, I won’t back down
No, I won’t back down
You can stand me up at the gates of hell
But I won’t back down

No, I’ll stand my ground
Won’t be turned around
And I’ll keep this world from draggin’ me down
Gonna stand my ground
And I won’t back down

(I won’t back down) Hey, baby
There ain’t no easy way out
(I won’t back down) Hey, I
Will stand my ground
And I won’t back down

Well, I know what’s right
I got just one life
In a world that keeps on pushin’ me around
But I’ll stand my ground
And I won’t back down

Let us pray and never give up.