March 6th, 2013: The Nineteenth Day of Lent
March 6, 2013 § Leave a comment
“You parents—if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead? Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Of course not!”
~Matthew 7.9, 10~
Christ here specifically addresses the parents in his audience to make a point about asking in prayer. He characterizes the relationship between God and the one praying as the relationship between a parent and child, underscored by love and best interest. It’s unthinkable for a parent to respond to such basic, necessary requests for food with such callous indifference and ill intent as Christ uses in his example. Of course good parents do not act this way, Christ says.
Bread and fish were considered staples during Christ’s time, due to the fact that they were inexpensive and widely available. Remember what the little boy brought Jesus in the Feeding of the Five Thousand? (Matthew 14.13-21) Christ’s audience would likely have been “bread and fish” people; red meat and other proteins and vegetables were luxuries that could only be afforded by the wealthy.
This tells us the nature of the petition made here. The child is not asking for extravagant, unnecessary playthings; rather, the child asks for that which is necessary to survive, “the basics.” What parent would deny her child such a simple request? Christ tells us that our Heavenly Father acts this way as well. If we think back to our earlier discussion in Matthew 6.25-34, we remember that Christ tells us not to worry; our Heavenly Father knows our needs. Not only does he know our needs, but he loves us and desires to give us that which we need.
Today, let’s think about the relationship that we live in our prayer life. Do we approach God as some kind of tyrannical overlord, one that we coweringly approach in fear? Or perhaps we see God as a heavenly bank account, one that we have access to as long as we use the right debit card and PIN number. Maybe there are other ways we approach God in prayer, but let’s work on reframing that relationship: as we pray, let’s remember that God is our loving Father who does desire to give us what we need.
Lord Christ, thank you for your love. Please seal this teaching in my heart and bring to approach the heavenly Father as just that – a loving, caring Father who does desire to provide what I need. Help me to live in this revelation. Amen.