I heard a thoughtful sermon this week.
From the Gospel of Luke: 11:9 "So I say to you, Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. 11:10 For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.
The homilist, Fr. Dave, described his 5-month old son: he cries and he gets fed, or changed, or cuddled to sleep. This is the young, early relationship between parent and infant. The infant asks through cries and his needs are attended to.
Fr. Dave’s 7-year old son was compared to the infant son. To the older child the parent can say, “Please pick up the toy (rattle, or whatever) that your brother dropped and give it back to him” and the older son does as he is asked. Most of the time.
The relationship between parent and older son is more fully developed. They communicate on a different level, a mutually interactive level.
So, too, is our faith relationship with God. In early stages of faith we ask God for help, and if we are paying close attention, our prayers are answered, though perhaps not in the way that we expect. In more mature stages of faith the communication with God is more complex. God asks us to help with God’s purposes. God asks us to help by assisting others, by showing love through actions to others. We become God’s helpmate by working to fulfill God’s desires on earth by helping others with the resources we have. When we lack the resources God works with us to help us develop the resources that we require to do God’s will.
This description fits what I have seen in the world of faith in my life. I appreciate the description. I know that Fr. Dave has lived this message, too. In his life he has heard God’s call to action for Dave and Dave has responded in amazing ways. Just one of those responses resulted in Fr. Dave terminating his job, and with his family they sold their home and moved a thousand miles away so that Fr. Dave could attend seminary to become a priest. For the three years of seminary they lived on the proceeds of the sale of their home, and at the graduation were out of money and in debt. That, in my mind, is called jumping off the cliff in confident faith that it is what God asks to be done. Fr. Dave used the resources that he had available (the value of their home and security of a job) to obtain the resources that he heard God asking him to develop so that Fr. Dave could persue more fully the work that God was asking of him, in his case to become a priest and now rector of a congregation.
That is powerful stuff to me and my faith.