taking the words of Jesus seriously

Kids can be annoying. I know; I have two of them. The other day, my son saw an ad on TV for some flying thing that, although he didn’t know existed thirty seconds before, he absolutely could not live without now.

“Dad, ” he hollered, “I’ve got to have an X-27 Hyper Jet!”

“No, ” I said, almost reflexively. This is my default answer, especially when the sentences preceding my “no” began with “Dad, I want…”

“But dad, it has twin rotors!”

“Do you know what rotors are?”

“No, ” he sighed, “but it’s got two of them and it looks awesome.”

“You already have three flying toys you don’t play with, ” I said.

“Dad, the helicopter won’t charge and the other two are broken.”

“Answer’s still no, buddy.”

“But dad…”


“But I…”

“I said no.”

“But I really, really, REALLY want…”


He stomped off to the other room, whispering under his breath about the new thing, which had become the center of his universe in no more than a minute and a half.

We can learn from this, actually.

How often do we offer up halfhearted prayers, maybe while driving to work or as we drift off to sleep? How often do we not even bother to pray, resigning ourselves to resigned cynicism over the state of our government, the Middle East or even our own lives?

The difference between that and the obsessive nature of a kid is that the thing they are consumed with takes over their lives. It overwhelms them, causing everything else to shrink into the background.

I’m not suggesting that we get equally obsessed about the latest gadget we see, or the car we want, the spouse we long for or the neighbor’s life that we covet. The scripture call us to be persistent and tireless in our seeking of justice. We are to demonstrate a childlike obsession with seeking rest for the weary, wholeness for the broken, hope for those in despair.

Such persistence despite present circumstances, or even in spite of what seems to be common sense, is a sign of hope. It is the byproduct of a faith that believes, regardless of how bad things get, that love, wholeness and reconciliation prevail.

Granted, conventional wisdom tells us this is naive, a waste of time. And skeptics may be right in suggesting that things won’t always get better today, tomorrow or even in our lifetime. But for a people whose collective prayer is “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven, ” we claim such an idealistic, counterintuitive hope.

The question is: how deeply do we believe it? No need to give an answer. Our lives, and how we choose to live them, are response enough.

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