Wasting Grace and Asking Faithfully

Jesus next gives His disciples a command to refrain from “giving what is holy to dogs” or “giving pearls to swine.” This instruction resembles ancient wisdom about avoiding needless conflict by refraining from offering unwanted advice to people with the power and inclination to harm you.

By referring to the sacred Jesus seems to be telling them to be wise about whom to attempt to evangelize. Not everyone will be receptive to the gospel. Some will be actively hostile. As in the parable of the sower and the seed, why should a farmer waste good seed on bad soil? It would be far better to scatter seed on receptive soil. Since Jesus is expecting a harvest, it behooves His disciples to seek gospel-receptive people with whom to plant the seed.

In other words, Martyrdom should be a relatively rare side-effect of evangelism rather than its main goal.

Jesus goes on to tell His disciples to “ask, seek and knock.” It sounds like Christians are allowed to ask for anything they need and it will be provided. Some things will require more patience to wait for than others, however, so don’t give up if it seems slow in arriving.

What Jesus does not tell them to do is ask for non-necessities. If we are indeed seeking first His kingdom and His righteousness, the things we need will be provided. Presumably, anything we need to have in order to advance His Kingdom will also be provided, including any spiritual gifts He feels we may need. He gives on “good gifts.”

Implied in the need to ask is the possibility that the answer may be “no.” Jesus is the Lord. We are not. That is why we ask in His name.

Jesus sums up His “Ten Commandments” with His famous statement about doing unto others as you would like them to do unto you. He makes the claim that this sums up “all the law and the Prophets.”

In this context of Jesus’ covenant requirements, having that approach seems to be equated with the “new heart” that was missing in the people of the original Sinai Covenant. The new heart of obedience to God’s word fulfils the promise of a new covenant testified to in the Law and the Prophets.


About John Valade

I facilitate and teach in Wascana Fellowship. I have been married to Wanda since 1984. M.Div. from Briercrest Seminary, SK in 2011 and B.R.E. Canadian Bible College (now Ambrose University College) in 2000.
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