Imagine for a moment that your very best friend is the son of the richest man in town. They live in a palatial mansion, with Downton Abbey-style servants. They have multiple cars, a private jet that can take them anywhere in the country, and oodles and oodles of money.
Your friend and his father are extremely close. They are virtually identical in every way. They like the same movies. They like the same clothes. They enjoy the same sports, the same food, the same music. The phrase “like father, like son” is an understatement. That is just how alike they are. In fact, they are so close that your friend will not do anything without running it past his father. They think alike in every way.
One day your friend stops by your house unannounced. He pulls you aside and says, “Hey, I know times have been tough for you.” Of course, he is absolutely right. You have been struggling of late. Ever since you lost that high-paying engineering job last year, you have been trying desperately to make ends meet. In fact, you just started working at McDonald’s yesterday after your unemployment had run out.
So he continues, “I want you to have this.” Then he pulls from his pocket a check drawn from his father’s bank account. Signed by his father and dated today, the check is made out to your best friend. The amount, however, is blank.
“I want to endorse this check over to you,” he says. “How much do you want me to make it out for?”
What would your answer be?
Seriously ponder this question before you read any further. Please. It is too important for you to gloss over this. Because for you to understand what I am going to say next, you must first understand how you, yourself, would behave if the world were to become your oyster.
If you know how you would respond, if you have seriously thought it out, you probably fall in one of these categories.
- The Self-Sufficient Type. You might say, “No, thank you. I don’t want to be a burden. Besides, nobody takes two-party checks anymore.”
- The Too-Embarrassed-to-Ask Type. You might say, “Thank you. I really appreciate it, but I don’t want to impose on you too much. Could I have $1,000.00 to help with the rent? I will pay you back when I am on my feet again.”
- The Matter-of-Fact Type. You might say, “Thank you. I really appreciate it. Could I have $15,000 to catch me up on all of my bills?”
- The Aggressive Type. You might say, “Thank you. I really appreciate it. How much do Ferrari’s cost these days?”
Now if we are really honest, the aggressive types really offend us. Maybe it is our culture, but audacity is generally a turn-off. I suppose this is because we are generally taught from a young age to not take advantage of other people. So if we were to observe someone else being so aggressive, we might think: “Where do you get off asking your best friend’s father to pay for your Ferrari? What have you done to earn a $250,000.00 sports-car? Crap! You can’t even hold down a job, and you dare to ask for a Ferrari?”
Am I not right here?
As for the matter-of-fact types, we like them a bit better, but not by much. At least they are not being “materialistic.” Still we judge them. “Have some dignity, man! At least ask for a loan and offer to pay it back!” we think.
Again, I am on to something, am I not?
When we get down to brass tacks, most of us probably fit into the first or second categories. When we have close friends, none of us really want to impose on them — even when we know that it would not be an imposition. Often its out of pride. Sometimes its because we know that the transfer of money between friends often ends friendships, so we don’t ask.
Regardless, when the offer is made, we generally put on a good front and say, “I’m ok.” Or even if the pain is simply too real that we just can’t fake it anymore, we merely ask for the bare minimum and say, “I’ll pay you back!”
When it comes to our interactions with friends and family, we do not want anyone to know that our lives are in shambles. So we put on the best front that we can, and then we go out into the world full of pain. And even when our closest friends — who feel our pain vicariously because they are walking side-by-side with us — offer to help, our natural inclination is to resist the assistance (or to accept as little help as possible).
So what does this have to do with miracles?
You see, in many respects how we interact with others impacts how we relate to God.
In John 14, Jesus talks about how He and the Father are just alike. He also says that if we ask for anything in His name, He will do it. (This sounds like a blank check, does it not?) Why does He promise this? So that the Father will be glorified in the Son. (I believe this means that the more we ask for and receive from the Son, the more the Father is glorified.)
In Mark 11, Jesus says that we can ask for anything that we desire, and if we believe that we have received it, we will have it. This accords with John 15 where Jesus says that if we abide (or rest) in Him, and if His words rest in us, we can ask for what we desire, and it will be done for us.
Now pay close attention to Hebrews 4.
Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
Notice the word “boldly.” When we are in need, we are to “come boldly unto the throne of grace.”
Now let’s go back to the hypothetical story about you and your best friend. Imagine that Jesus Christ is your best friend. Imagine that you have a need — be it a health, mental, financial, emotional, family, or whatever else kind of need that you could possible have. Imagine that He has given you a blank check — drawn from the Bank of the Throne of Grace — that has been endorsed over to you.
In view of the Bible verses we have just read, what would you have Jesus list as an amount?
- Would you say, “No, thank you,” and decline His offer?
- Would you say, “Thank you,” and then ask for barely enough to get by, while promising to be a good little boy or girl from now on?
- Would you say, “Thank you,” and then ask for everything you need to get you back to where you once were?
- Or would you say, “Thank you,” and then ask for everything you need to get to where you have dreamed of being?
A few weeks ago I posted a blog about the story of the Prodigal Son, which is found in Luke 15:11-32. I won’t repeat everything I posted in this original blog. However, I want to make a few salient points.
We often read this story from the perspective of the younger son, the prodigal who lost his way only to return. However, my favorite part is that of the older son who also lost his way.
You see, most churches are filled with older sons. These are the people who do everything right. They don’t lie, cheat, steal, or commit adultery. They tithe their 10% and go to church every time the door is open. They are perfect in just about every way — except for the most important part of all:
They are working in the fields when they really don’t have to. Put another way, they do not have the ability to receive God’s grace because they are too busy trying to earn it.
Instead of basking in the Father’s presence where they will be given all the security and assurance they will ever need, they choose to work for God’s blessings like a hired servant.
Instead of viewing themselves as sons and daughters, they see themselves as servants, waiting for God to reward them for their obedience and their good works. Then when other less-deserving people get all the breaks, they become bitter and jealous wondering what good is there in serving God when all the rewards go to the people who are unrighteous.
The Father is generous by His very nature. Instead of trying to impress God with our obedience or our holiness, we should set that aside and just run to His throne, jump in His lap, and say, “Daddy, I need ____________________.”
Had the older son done this… Had he said, “Dad, I would like to have a fatted calf to celebrate with my friends,” don’t you think the father would have obliged? If the older son had done that–instead of slaving in the fields to earn what already belonged to him–he would have been much happier and less bitter toward his brother.
Instead, his work ethic, his lack of audacity, his unwillingness to boldly ask the father what he really wanted actually kept him from being in his father’s presence. (For as long as he was working in the field, he was not with his father in the house.) And that kept him from getting what he really wanted.
In conclusion, if you are a child of God — if you have accepted Jesus Christ into your life, allowing him to wash your sins in the Blood that He shed so that you, also, may become adopted into the family of God — and if you have a need that the Lord must meet, then all you have to do is to boldly ask God for what you really want, and then step out of the way.
In other words, don’t talk yourself out of a miracle.
Look, none of us deserve for God to perform a miracle on our behalves. So there is no need in trying to justify ourselves by our own works or with our own since of false modesty. Get past that. Get over yourselves.
Instead, be bold. Just ask. And then let Him do His thing.