French fries, bean burritos…and tuna.
That’s essentially what I’ve had to eat since Advent began. The preparation period for Christmas, is not exactly ‘fun’ when it comes to our food. It’s something we should discuss later – I can actually look forward to fasting. I know. Sounds crazy, right? And right around now, is when I start making excuses to break the fast. Vacation. Travel. Guests. Free food. Hopefully this can be a recharge for our purpose in fasting this Christmas.
Imagine, (forgive me, all the health-conscious people reading this…) that you are taking a ride through a drive-thru. Once you’ve decided which genre of food you will be consuming on this pleasant day (the weather is really nice outside right now in Florida), you roll down your window, turn down your music, and you meet some silence. Why? Well, because you’re waiting on the speaker to talk to you and take your order – duh.
“Welcome to _______. Can I take your order?”
Ah. The beautiful question we were waiting for. I have the entire menu to order from. Am I going value-meal? or am I getting a milk-shake? Or do I just want quantity, dollar-menu-dreams? So many options. And who’s in charge? Me. I can order anything I want, and they’ll basically make it at my command (or serve you what was made earlier that day…). For this minute – I am the boss. They don’t ask, “are you fasting?” or “does this work with your calorie count?” or “would you like a diet coke, instead?”. My request, is law.
If you know me – you know I’m a big eater. But with the excitement of the moment, there can be some indecisiveness. It can be stressful! Having to answer their questions – “do you want fries with that?” Uh..I don’t know..maybe? And if you consider yourself ‘decisive’ – ever go to a drive-thru with a whole car of people? The first person asked to order always responds with some variation of ‘come back to me’. It is always a disaster. We have so much freedom to request what we want, and we end up second guessing what we think we want…
This changes a bit with fasting. Going in, you have so much more of a game-plan. When a goal is in mind, ordering becomes quicker. What is my purpose in eating?
How much of a game-plan do I have in my requests before the Lord?
I was reading Matthew 20 and came to notice that Jesus REALLY wants us to order ANYTHING we’d like. I couldn’t wait to sit and write to you so you see what I saw…two separate passages in the chapter – both underlining 1thingisneeded.
“Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Him with her sons, kneeling down and asking something from Him. And He said to her, “What do you wish?”…” (Matthew 20:20-21, NKJV)
See His perfect response? How did she approach Him? On her knees. In doing so, He responded this way. Keep this in mind – as it will come up again in a bit.
“Now as they went out of Jericho, a great multitude followed Him. And behold, two blind men sitting by the road, when they heard that Jesus was passing by, cried out, saying, “Have mercy on us, O Lord, Son of David!” Then the multitude warned them that they should be quiet; but they cried out all the more, saying, “Have mercy on us, O Lord, Son of David!” So Jesus stood still and called them, and said, “What do you want Me to do for you?”” (Matthew 20:29-32, NKJV)
His words are so tender! So full of love, and service. Now – how did these two approach Him? Yelling. Fearless. Proclaiming His position as Messiah. Asking for mercy. That’s another characteristic. Bent knees & vocalized persistence. Don’t forget these. It’s no coincidence that the church loves chanting “Lord have mercy” and teaches us to do metanoias (prostrations) with praying the Jesus Prayer.
Here’s a question for you. WHY does Jesus ask the “can I take your order” question? Don’t you think He, the All-knowing Creator, already knows? Without a doubt, He does.
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God “(Phillippians 4:6, NKJV)
Tell Him your needs anyway. Relay to Him every bit of your worries: your broken relations, your addictions, your broken home, the pain in your family, the concern for a brother or sister that is lost. Be honest, and tell Him how you feel like you may not know Him, how you feel lost, and what’s been bugging you. This is the goal that makes ordering (prayer) easier. Pray with purpose. Does He know? Absolutely. But, let your requests be made known to Him.
He will save assuredly; yet he will do so just in the way he has promised. But in what way has he promised? On our willing it, and on our hearing Him. For he does not make a promise to blocks of wood. -St John Chrysostom
So – Christ doesn’t need to ask what we need. Imagine with me we’re in the street, loads of people surrounding Christ. It is loud. Packed. And two people keep yelling for His attention. I pray we are not those silencing the requests of those around us, but may we encourage. We ‘look’ over – and we see two blind men. Jesus turns His attention to them. It is silent.
Do you think anyone in that entire scene did NOT know what they were going to request? They were obviously blind. They certainly wanted sight. But let’s learn from them – use the senses we do have. I am blind in my spiritual pursuit…am I utilizing my ears? my sense of touch? That’s how they felt Christ’s presence – then they were able to speak and request.
Bible trivia – what’s the name of 1 of the men that was healed?
Now they came to Jericho. As He went out of Jericho with His disciples and a great multitude, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the road begging. And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”Then many warned him to be quiet; but he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”So Jesus stood still and commanded him to be called.Then they called the blind man, saying to him, “Be of good cheer. Rise, He is calling you.”And throwing aside his garment, he rose and came to Jesus.So Jesus answered and said to him, “What do you want Me to do for you?”The blind man said to Him, “Rabboni, that I may receive my sight.”Then Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your faith has made you well.”And immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus on the road. (Mark 10:46-52, NKJV)
And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive. (Matthew 21:22, NKJV)
The commandment of the Lord shines clearly, enlightening the eyes. Receive Christ, receive power to see, receive your light, that you may plainly recognize both God and man. More delightful than gold and precious stones, more desirable than honey and the honeycomb is the Word that has enlightened us. -St Clement of Alexandria
“for the eyes of everyone wait upon You, for You give them their food in due season. Deal with us according to Your goodness, O You Who gives food to all flesh. Fill our hearts with joy and gladness…”