Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Insulting Your Dinner Host

Suggested Reading: Ephesians 3

One of the things that drove me crazy when my children were younger was how they had no shame in asking people for things. We'd go to someone's house and my son would ask if he could have the fireplace poker because it would make a good sword or my daughter would ask if she can have an entire bowl of fruit three minutes before our hosts served us dinner. At times, my children had absolutely no shame. And while my wife and I were trying to teach them appropriate manners, we still had the regular cringe-worthy requests that came every time we were a guest in someone's home.

Sometimes, however, I wish we were a whole lot more like my children in our prayers. I can't count the number of times that a group or church has invested a large amount of time and money into an outreach project and then I heard someone pray, "Lord, let us reach just one person because then it will all be worth it." Every time I hear that prayer, it makes me moan in despair, and I think, Who do you think you are talking to? Some bum on the street? You're talking to the Almighty Creator of the universe! Ask for the entire community!

Ephesians 3:20 reminds us that God is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us (NIV). If God really is capable of doing so much, and if God's goal really is that no one should perish, why don't we ask God for more? I think, 1) we are trying to set our expectations so low that we won't be disappointed or 2) we are trying not to be presumptuous towards God. Often, I think we use #2 as an excuse for #1. But doing that is like going into someone's home for dinner and avoiding the dinner table but asking for a stick of gum. Sure, we're not being presumptuous, but we are probably being insulting.

Paul reminds us of how much God is able to do above and beyond our imaginings right after offering a prayer that we will be able to understand how long and high and wide and deep is the love of Christ (Ephesians 3:18, NIV). Paul asked for the impossible and then reminded us that God is capable of doing the impossible.

As you seek to follow Jesus and turn the world upside down like the apostles, don't be timid in your requests of God, especially with regard to His kingdom. Don't ask God to help your church reach just one soul, ask him to help you reach thousands. Don't ask God to help you pay your bills, ask him for enough to pay someone else' s bills. Don't ask him to help you see a new facet of him, ask him to help you see all of him! When it comes to making requests of God, sets your sights on God's Kingdom and then have no shame. Don't insult God by asking for so little. Give him a chance to make his glory and power known. God may choose to only give you one soul. Or God may respond with an incredible outpouring of power.

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