Sermon: “What About the Rest of It?”
Rev. Glenn G. Grant
Kirkridge Presbyterian Church
Transcription from July 24, 2022
Sermon transcription is automatically generated. Please forgive any grammatical errors.
The text of the Lord's prayer as it's recorded in the gospel of Luke is of course not what we're used to saying. We have a tendency in the church to use the Matthew version of this text. I have actually heard people when they read the Luke version say, well, where's the rest of it? Where's the rest of it?
And it's like, well, the rest of it's in a different gospel. So, you have to look somewhere else. Well, why isn't it here? Well, Luke was talking or was writing to a much different audience. First of all, Matthew was writing to a Jewish. Luke was primarily writing to a non-Jewish audience. So, you have that differentiation and some of the things that are in Matthew's version of the Lord's prayer are things that a good Jew would recognize, and somebody that was not a Jew would not. And they're missing in Luke's version.
It's the rest of the passage that we need to look at as well, because we have the disciples asking Jesus how to pray. And Jesus gives them this really cliff notes version of a prayer. Everybody know what cliff notes are? You know, they’re those yellow and black books that give you the extremely condensed version of the assigned book you had for English.
I'm sure nobody ever used them as a student. I wished I had had a cliff notes version for a couple of my psychology texts, but in any case, we have this cliff notes version of the prayer, but that's not where Jesus stops. And as is normally the case, when somebody asks Jesus a question, he doesn't just stop with the immediate answer because he goes on to talk about someone asking for something that under normal circumstances, they would never ask for.
No good person would go over and wake up their neighbor and ask for a loaf of bread because somebody had come to their house to stay. Now we have problems understanding that because somebody comes to our house to stay, you know, the grocery store's open late. And we can still go after bedtime. Matter of fact, probably the best time to go to Meijer is after nine pm.
But we have a hard time understanding that, but Jesus is talking to an audience that would've known when the sun goes down, you don't visit you, don't go to your neighbors and ask for things because especially if they have children, they are probably already in bed.
But Jesus talks about this person that goes and persistently asks for a loaf of bread because they have house guests and is persistent enough that the person gets up and gives it to him, probably because they don't want 'em to continue pounding on the door and waking up the kids!
So, we have that, but Jesus doesn't even stop there. He goes on and says, who would, if your child asked for asked for a fish would give him a snake, or if they asked for an egg would give him a scorpion. So obviously what he is talking about here is if you ask God for something that is good. God is not going to give you something that is bad.
If you ask God for something that is good. In other words, what you're asking God for has to meet the criteria. You know, we ask God for a lot of things. God, give me that winning mega millions number! It's only what 700 some odd million dollars worth right now. Because I could do so much good with it. Yeah. Look at the history of winners.
God, help me get an a on this test that I didn't study for. Why are you rolling your eyes? (looking at Brynna)
But we ask God for these things all the time and we forget that Jesus has made it pretty clear that when you ask for the good things, God's going to give you what you need. If you need to eat, he's going to give you that fish or that egg, he may not give you the T-bone steak.
When I was in seminary already supporting a family with three children or four children… three children when I started, the fourth one arrived during seminary. We were always trying to figure out how we were going to pay the next bill. But it always worked out. I can't tell you how many times after church, someone would come over and be talking to me and I'd get home and there's something in my shirt pocket. I don't even know who put it there, but it would've been just enough to pay that next bill.
When we ask God for what we need, as opposed to what we want, God answers. When we knock on that door, the door is open for us. And this is something that we frequently forget when we are praying. We get through, we do the Lord's prayer and that's all finding dandy, or we ask God to take care of this or take care of that for us. And how often have you had somebody say, well, God doesn't really answer prayers.
And yeah, I, you know, I'm sorry, they are forgetting the other half of this. They're forgetting the rest of this and that they are not listening. They are not listening. Yes, God, doesn't always answer prayers the way we want them answered.
But God answers prayers when we listen for what God wants from us. And what does God want from us? Let's go back to the example that Jesus gave in the prayer, save us from the time of trial. And this is one of the differences from the Matthew version, by the way, because the Christians that Luke was writing to we're being persecuted.
So, save us from the time of trial. And forgive us our sins. We don't use that word, do we? Forgive us our sins as we forgive everyone indebted to us, forgive us, our sins as we forgive everyone indebted to us. That's a piece of how we listen to what God wants from us. What are we doing that shows other people that maybe we think they owe us something? Are we forgiving it? Are we forgiving it?
Are we treating the alien among us as a human being? Or the widow or the indigent, the homeless, the hungry…
We have to not just ask God for what we want, but we have to allow the rest of that to happen. We have to listen for what God wants from us.
So, what does God want from us as a church? You ever think about that? What does God want from us as a church? Hmm… Does God want us to worship at exactly 10 O'clock go on Sunday morning every week?
Does God want us to put our pennies and our nickels and our dimes and the two coins offering?
Does God want us to live lives that are filled with compassion for other people?
Does God want as a congregation to exhibit that compassion in this community?
These are the things that we need to be listening for. How does God want us to do that? What is God maybe calling us to be doing that we haven't been doing? You know, we get really good about taking care of ourselves and being good with each other in fellowship. And what is God calling us to do in the world, and in and around the community of Grand Blanc.
See, that's where we have to do the listening part. It's all well and good to start off our prayers with our father who aren't in heaven, hallowed be your name. But if we're not living lives that hold up that statement that we believe that God is holy, then we haven't been listening. Amen.