Most fathers love to be generous with their children. Jesus understood this, and that is why he pointed to examples of fathers to explain God’s generosity in Matthew 7:9-11: “Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him?”
Do you see the picture Jesus is painting? The son has been out in the fields working all day. By the time he comes home, he’s famished. The family is at the table and dishes of steaming, fragrant food are being passed around. Can you imagine a father who would toss the boy a rock and say, “Here, gnaw on this”? Or worse, one who would toss him an angry snake? No earthly fathers are perfect; we are all tainted with sin. Even so, we all recognize such behavior as cruel. Good fathers want to give good gifts to their children – and so does our heavenly father.
All through the Old Testament we see the theme that God is ready and willing to share his resources with his people. In the New Testament the concept is extended and made even more precious. There we learn that we have been adopted as God’s sons and daughters and have become heirs, along with Jesus Christ, of his glorious kingdom.
- Jesus taught us to call God Father, which means “Papa.”
- The most repeated prayer in the Christian church is the Lord’s Prayer, which begins with the words “Our Father.”
- Ephesians 1:5 tells us that in love God “predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ.”
- Galatians 4:7 says that if you are a Christ-follower, then you “are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child then also an heir, through God” (NRSV).
- In Romans 8:16-17, Paul writes, “The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs – heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.”
What a fantastic promise! God will cover us with blessings because he has adopted us as his sons and daughters. As God’s children and legal heirs, we own the world and the universe. Should we ever fear to tell our Father our needs?
For some reason, though, most of us have a hard time accepting the gifts God gives us. In the past, when God would bless me with a special portion of his Spirit, a material item I had been wanting or a warm new relationship, I would be thinking, God must have had his wires crossed. Why would he do that for me? In fact, I would feel guilty about my good fortune, as if I had somehow acquired something that God didn’t really want me to have.
Over time I’ve learned to give God a little credit. If an egotistical judge was willing to hear from a widow of no status, how much more will our heavenly Father crane his ear from his celestial seat to hear our requests? If imperfect, earth-bound fathers love to bestow blessings on their children, imagine how our perfect Father in heaven must delight in giving good gifts to us!
The Bible teaches that we serve a God who is actually looking for opportunities to pour out his blessings on us. It’s as if he were saying, “What good are my resources if I don’t have anyone to share them with? Just give me a reasonable amount of cooperation, and I will pour out my blessings on you.”
Once and for all, let’s trade in the notion that we have to plot and scheme to pilfer a blessing from God, somehow tricking him into giving up what he would rather keep for himself. The reality is that our God is good. It’s in his nature to be good; it’s who he is – a giving God, a blessing God, an encouraging God, a nurturing God, an empowering God, a loving God. This is the God who willingly waits for your call.
Bill Hybels – from “Too Busy Not to Pray”