A Good Gift (03/06/20)
Bible Reading: Luke 11:9-13
Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. "Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!"
Buying the right present for a loved one can be difficult, with questions asked of those closest to them like ‘Do you have any ideas what so-and-so would like for their birthday?’ I think it gets harder as people get older and I’m told it’s hardest to buy a present for a man! With children, however, you will often get a list as long as your arm of things they want. The problem then is that the list will be totally different tomorrow, so it’s hard to know what they really want or need.
Maybe Jesus sees us all as children when he says in our reading ‘Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you’, because the tense of the verb he uses is the ‘continuous present’, which literally translates as ‘ask and keep on asking, seek and keep on seeking, knock and keep on knocking…’ God want to know that we have thought through what we are asking for and that we are serious about it. The promise that follows this persistence, though, is that what we ask for will be given to us, what we are looking for we will find and the door we are knocking on will be opened.
There is a message here for all of us as we bring our prayers to God. But the context of Jesus’ words is really interesting in this season of Pentecost as Jesus concludes his words by saying ‘If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!’ This illustration about persistent prayer is in the context of asking God to give us his Holy Spirit, something he describes as a good gift.
The Holy Spirit was God’s good gift to the disciples, and the inspiration behind the birth and growth of the early church. Let us not imagine that we can be the church today without receiving this same good gift from God. Instead, let us ask and keep on asking, seek and keep on seeking and knock and keep on knocking so that we receive all of the good gifts that God has for us as his church.
Forgive us Lord when we treat prayer to you too lightly and fail to be persistent in what we ask you for. Forgive us also when we fail to value and appreciate the good gifts that you give us, especially the gift of your Holy Spirit. Pour out your Spirit afresh on me and on your church as we seek to serve you today and always. Amen.