Summary: This is a follow-up on "Choosing the Good Portion," (Luke 10: 38-42). Our faith and attitude intertwine to affect our outlook on life, on our relationships with others and with God, and are the necessary components of effective prayer life.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, have you ever been in a situation where you thought everybody would agree with you only to receive immediate comments to the contrary? I found that out last Sunday when we talked about choosing the good portion and I used the illustration of Kentucky Fried Chicken. I said if everyone chose their favorite part, there would be nothing left in the bucket but chicken wings. You have no idea how many people told me after the service that chicken wings were their favorite part.
So, I am changing my tune and saying that if all of us reached for our favorite KFC portion, we would end up with - an empty bucket. Happy now? Good! And that’s all the advertising for Kentucky Fried Chicken I am planning to do.
Sometimes choosing the good portion is easy, sometimes we have to look hard for it. Sometimes choosing the good portion constitutes a bit of a sacrifice. Yet, we all know that life presents us with the necessity to choose all the time.
When we wake up in the morning, we have an immediate choice to make about our attitude toward that day and toward the people we share the day with. Am I going to be a sourpuss or am I going to be a sweetie pie? Am I going to look for reasons to be miserable or will I spend the day looking for reasons to praise God for blessings that I notice around me? Am I going to be pig-headed and try to solve every problem by my own strength, or will I lean on God’s help by staying connected to Him?
There is a funny story about a man who was hired to paint a line on a highway. The first day he did great. Painted a line mile long. But with each day, his accomplishment diminished. By Friday the foreman told him he was let go. The man protested saying that he was a good worker. It’s just that with each day he got farther and farther from the paint bucket.
If we want to live successful and meaningful lives, we must stay connected to the Source of life. Our Lord Jesus showed us numerous examples of being connected with our heavenly Father, even before His public ministry. When He was 12 years old and mistakenly left behind in Jerusalem, He did not panic. After searching for Him three days, Mary and Joseph found Him in the temple in the company of theologians. He said, “Did you not know that I would be in my Father’s house?”
And from the beginning of His public ministry all the way to the cross and the Resurrection, Jesus remained connected to the Father. In last Sunday’s Gospel lesson Jesus urged Martha -and all of us - to choose the good portion, even in stressful circumstances. Jesus practiced what He preached. He lived a busy, we may even say hectic life. There were so many demands on Him, especially when the word got out about His miraculous healings. Sometimes He and His disciples didn’t even have time to eat. But notice that even though the Lord skipped some meals, He never skipped a chance to pray.
Sometimes He got up early in the morning and went by Himself to a solitary place to pray. At times He invited Peter, James and John to join Him. Sometimes he included all twelve. In today’s reading from the 11th chapter of Luke Jesus answered a disciple’s request, Lord, teach us to pray, with a template a model for a prayer, which begins with addressing the almighty God, the Creator of the universe, as Our Father. It follows with petitions summarizing our basic needs, assuring us that our heavenly Father is not many light years away but very near, willing to protect us, provide for us, and help us. This template or a model has become known as the Lord’s prayer, something very dear and precious in every Christian’s heart.
For Jesus - and for all of us, His followers, prayer is not just a choice, but a necessity. Picture a deep sea diver. From the heavy suit and the massive helmet emerges a bundle of cords. One delivers air so that the diver could breathe, another is an audio cord enabling the diver to communicate with the crew above, and the third component is a strong cable ready to pull the diver up when his work is done. This is a lifeline between the deep sea diver and the home base on the ship.
In a similar way, God’s loving grace, our faith generated in us by the Holy Spirit, and prayer are the components of our lifeline to God. He is our Creator, the Source of life, who sustains us and saves us, and who does not leave us down here in the murky waters of this world without a means of communicating with Him. He provides us with a line of communication and invites us to share our petitions with Him. Psalm 50:15 says Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you and you will honor me.