Summary: Ask and it shall be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.
Theme: Ask and it shall be given
Text: Gen. 18:20-32; Col. 2:12-14; Luke 11:1-13
Read Lk. 11:9-10 "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened."
Jesus often taught using parables and as is always the case, today’s parable teaches another very important lesson. In most parables depicting God, Christ normally uses the main character as a God-type. But in today’s parable, we notice that the unsympathetic friend bears no resemblance to the compassionate God whom Christ taught us to call Father. By contrasting this man with God is to encourage us to trust in the goodness of God. If such a friend can respond to human need, how can we doubt the willingness of God to respond to our needs? How can we doubt the words of Jesus, which says to ‘ask and it shall be given’? Today science and technology seem to have made many indifferent to the goodness of God as we see in many nations especially the developed ones. The Churches in these nations are practically empty and many have been converted into places of amusement because most of these people believe they are capable of providing for themselves and therefore see no need for God. If they have no need for God why should they care whether He is compassionate or not? Yet there is no one who is truly self-sufficient and independent of God. Even those who feel they do not need God because they do not have a care in the world will very often turn to God when they face danger. Careful planning and management can reduce our helplessness or vulnerability to circumstances, but inevitably life catches us unprepared. Sooner or later we find ourselves surprised by an unexpected demand. We awake to a knocking on our door and hear a familiar voice in the dark announcing an unexpected guest who is weary and hungry from his journey and we have nothing in the house to offer him. The only option left to us is to turn to God who has told us to ask and it shall be given.
We have all been caught in such an embarrassing situation before or we may even find ourselves in such a situation today. Someone has come to visit just before payday without informing us or has come at a time when the house is in a mess and all the food had been eaten with nothing left to offer. But what Jesus is talking about here is more than just an embarrassing situation; He is talking about the crucial situations we face in life, which He understands very well, even better than ourselves. Christ is warning us that sooner or later life is going to surprise us with some unexpected demands. He does not tell us what form they will take but experience suggest a number of possibilities; delinquency – criminal behaviour by a child, addiction to drugs or alcohol, divorce, a business failure, a crippling accident, a terminal illness such as cancer, HIV or Aids or even death. It does not have to happen to us personally, but it can happen in ways that affects us. What happened at the Accra Sports stadium and what happened during the last flooding should serve to remind us that such a time can come for any of us when we least expect it and there is nothing we can do to prevent it. When we experience such life threatening situations we can always come to God and ask for His help. God waits for us to ask through prayer before He answers as He reminds us in His words ‘ask and it shall be given’. Some people, however, question the need to pray. They argue that if God is all-powerful and knows everything He should just go ahead and do what He wants to do? Why should events on earth be related to our prayers at all? We can find the answer in the words of John Wesley that "God does nothing on earth save in answer to believing prayer."
According to the Scriptures the whole earth was given over to man’s rule or dominion and God was bound for all time and eternity to honour His commitment. The Psalmist is Psalm 8 declares, “what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you visit him. For you have made him a little lower than the angels, and you have crowned him with glory and honour. You have made him to have dominion over the works of your hands: You have put all things under his feet.” When Adam and Eve surrendered to Satan’s lie, they lost this dominion and instead came under Satan’s dominion. When Jesus triumphed over sin and death God’s original intent and purpose for man was restored. God honours the dominion He has given to man and restored to him and therefore waits for us to come to Him in prayer before He enters the earthly arena. Regular prayer brings intimacy with God and in times of need those who pray know where to go. Though most Christians would agree that God honours moment-by-moment communion with Him, we still struggle to make it a central part of our daily lives. If we are honest with ourselves we will admit that we do not pray as we should – not as often, not as specifically and not as confidently as we should. We can change this when we understand that our relationship with God is that of a child to a parent - to a father. As our Father He knows us better than we know ourselves and He longs to give us what is best for us. He is not at all like the unsympathetic friend in today’s parable. But like the host in the parable when we are confronted with an unexpected guest we should not sit down and wring our hands in despair. We should take the necessary action. The host in the parable did not just sit down. He acted – he walked through the dark streets till he came to a house where he knocked on the door and asked for bread. He did not just walk aimlessly he knew exactly where to go. What will we do when we are surprised with an unexpected need? Will we know where to go? Can we find our way to God and trust Him to meet our need. Many of us treat God like a casual friend and do not consider it important enough to spend time with Him. We know where we can find Him on Sundays but we do not know how to reach Him in an emergency.