Skip to main content

a.s.k.

I don’t like asking for things. People say men don’t like asking for directions. I don’t either, and I am not a man. I would much rather figure things out for myself, complete a project knowing that I did it myself, or prove that I can learn something new or do something I never did before by not giving up, or at least not asking someone else to assist me. There is some merit to this dogged determination, but most days I would have to say I probably don’t like giving someone any power over me: the power to say NO and thereby reject me or some part of my life by refusing my request, the power to take part of the credit and satisfaction for something I might have accomplished on my own. And most of all, I don’t like to be needy, weak, or helpless in some way; it makes me feel stupid.

This means that I also ask God for very little, at least specifically. I ask for great and vague things such as wisdom, truth, courage, strength, protection, direction, love, purity, forgiveness…you get the picture. Today I was reminded of the verse “you have not because you ask not.” Now that sounds pretty simple until you look at the context: "You lust for what you don't have and are willing to kill to get it. You want what isn't yours and will risk violence to get your hands on it. You wouldn't think of just asking God for it, would you? And why not? Because you know you'd be asking for what you have no right to. You're spoiled children, each wanting your own way." (James 4:2-3 The Message)

Yikes! Could part of the reason I don’t ask God for much be because I don’t trust my own heart? Some part of me really believes that most of my requests, when they are stripped to the bare root, will be basically selfish or inappropriate, so as a safety precaution, I ask for nothing other than something that I know is already approved, like the spiritual fruit list. Now what kind of a relationship is that? I don’t REALLY say and think and feel and ask for the things that are on my heart, I don’t be myself - whether I am having a bad day or a good one - but instead, I censor my words and desires in order to please this God who has already said that his love is unconditional, that he will never leave me, and that he wants to get close to me, the real me, the whole me. I hate to be disappointed – don’t we all, but the least I could do is ASK for something – something unique to Matte, something interesting and exciting and big and more important to me than I even care or dare to admit.

‘And what he gives in love is far better than anything else you'll find. It's common knowledge that "God goes against the willful proud; God gives grace to the willing humble."’ (James 4:6 The Message).

Let me come as a child, flushed with excitement, perhaps unkempt and dirty from play or work or a fight with my peers, but let me come with big ideas in my head and wild dreams flashing in my eyes – those things that God has planted in no other person but me. He is waiting to hear me ask for them…

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

greater than

Jesus says something to his disciples in John 14 which seems a bit gutsy, maybe even a bit hyperbolic. At the very least, it is puzzling. He says, "Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father" (John 14:11-12). Jesus is talking to his closest friends about his impending departure, telling them not to be troubled, assuring them that he is not abandoning them. The unity Jesus enjoys with his Father is the unity into which Jesus invites his disciples through the Spirit of God, the Advocate, the Helper. In this passage, Jesus is not making a statement about how impressive their miracles will be, but letting them know that his physical departure will not result in a cessation of the work of God. In fact, quite the opposite.

Much time has been spent by readers and interpreters trying to decipher what Jesus means by "greater works." The charismatics ten…

the kindness of God

In recent years, I have heard and read many conversations in which Christians comment on potentially divisive issues such as sexuality, politics, economics, nationhood, leadership, socialism, etc. We are an increasingly polarized society, it seems, and the Church is not immune to this dynamic. What has saddened me most about these interactions is how often kindness is in short supply. We can get so worked up about an issue that we think it is okay to disrespect, shame, or mock those who do not share our views. In other words, we make things more important than people, and that is not the way of Jesus.

In English, kindness is defined as being friendly, generous, and considerate. Kindness is when someone gives up their seat on the bus for an elderly gentleman. Or lets someone go in front of them in a line. Or offers to pay for a stranger's coffee. However, the word translated as kindness in the New Testament is a bit more robust than our English version. Chrestotes (Gk) combines th…

Where is Jesus? Part 1

For the past few weeks, I have been reading through the book of Leviticus. If you are not a detail person, you might find the text less than engaging. I have a great affection for details, but even so, this book presents some challenges for me. There are so many particulars regarding sacrifices, rituals, and legal and moral practices. In addition, some of the instructions sound brutal to my pacifist, non-violent ears. The text also has the feel of "way too much information," no doubt due to the desire of the priestly writer to compile somewhat of a textbook for those who served in a Levitical capacity.

The main challenge I have in reading Leviticus is being able to recognize the God revealed in the person of Jesus, especially in the midst of all the boring and brutal minutiae of priesthood. However, considering that Jesus is identified as the ultimate high priest by the writer of Hebrews (Heb. 4:14-16), it stands to reason that the priestly documents contain more than a few…