Sunday, December 25, 2022
Pushy people can be annoying. They’re relentless until they get what they want. But you must admit, they usually get what they want. Luke 18 is loaded with chunks of wisdom, but one of the teachings throughout the chapter is that pushy people get what they desire, and Jesus says we should be just like them.
Jesus started with a parable about prayer. He talked about a widow that kept coming to a judge asking for legal protection. For a while the judge was unwilling to give her what she wanted, but the woman kept pushing and he finally gave in. He said that the reason he gave her what she wanted was because the widow kept bothering him and he was concerned if he didn’t help her, she would continually come to him and wear him out. It may be surprising to you that we are told to be like the pushy widow when it comes to prayer. Don’t just pray for something one time and forget about it. God wants to see how bad you really want it. It’s Christmas today and I am reminded of when my kids were young and would ask for a particular gift for Christmas. If they were relentless and asked for it over and over, there was a pretty good chance they were going to get it. Furthermore, it was more exciting as a parent to watch their reaction when they opened that gift that they really really wanted because they were extra appreciative when they saw what it was. God is the same way. He likes to give us what we want and need, and I am sure he enjoys our reaction when we show Him how appreciative we are.
A little later in the chapter, parents were bringing their babies to Jesus so that he would touch them. Apparently, they were being a bit pushy, so the disciples started to rebuke them. Jesus saw what was happening and told the disciples to back down and let the children come to him because “the kingdom of God belongs to such as these”. The aggressive parents got what they wanted, and Jesus was happy to give it to them.
Lastly, Bartimaeus was a blind man who was sitting by the road begging. He heard a crowd go by and asked what was going on. They told him that Jesus was passing by, so he called out to Jesus asking for Jesus to have mercy on him. Those who led the way sternly told him to be quiet…so he gave up and sat quietly as to not bother anyone. Not! He kept crying out even more! Jesus heard him and asked that he be brought to him. Jesus asked Bartimaeus what he wanted Jesus to do for him. He said he wanted to regain his sight. Jesus said, “Receive your sight; your faith has made you well.” Immediately, he regained his sight and began following him and praising God. What do you suppose would have happened if he kept his mouth shut after he was told to be quiet? I think we know the answer to that, and it doesn’t have anything to do with regaining sight. It was because he was pushy, and dare we say a bit obnoxious, that he received his sight.
I don’t think the lesson here is that it is a good idea to be rude and bad-mannered to others; rather, when you really want something from God, be persistent in your prayers and tell God how badly you really want it. And then ask Him again and again. It pleases Him to see that we are reaching out to Him and depending on Him instead of relying on ourselves.
Time to ponder:
What messages are we giving to God when we continually ask Him for something? Conversely, what messages are we giving to God when we don’t continually ask Him for something?
Is there something you really want from God, but you haven’t spent much time letting Him know that? What are you waiting for?
How can you bring children to Jesus, rather than being like the disciples who tried to keep them from Jesus?
How are you doing at showing appreciation for God’s greatest gifts? Specifically this holiday season, how will you show thanks for the gift God gave – his Son born to die (and welcome children, and show the Pharisees a better way, and heal the blind, and open the way to eternal life …) – and rise again (Luke 18:31-34) – and come again!