The Persistent Widow

Posted: May 9, 2016 in TLCC
Tags: , , , , ,

Persistence pays off. There are two kinds of being persistence. One is the bad kind, where we nag and keep on sticking to what we want just to get what we want, or two, the good kind, where we stick to the plan, we stick to a diet, we stick to a workout, we stick to a relationship, we stick to what is right. Being persistent can be a good thing. Being persistent in prayer is something we need to develop.

The dictionary defines persistence as “continuing firmly or obstinately in a course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition.”

Jesus told a parable in being persistent. So we should ask ourselves, what is then is that something that we need to be continuing to do, or something that we need to be obstinate about?

13118875_10154870744348712_7113206262565456044_n.jpg

I. Background

And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. (Luke 18:1)

This parable begins with an “AND”. Meaning, this is a continuation of the message, so it is still talking about the Coming of the Kingdom. Previously, we discussed that there is a Kingdom that is coming and that Jesus is the King in that Kingdom (read this article to understand more about the Kingdom).

We also have to bear in mind that this is a parable, meaning, a story with a lesson for us to learn. Parables are effective because who doesn’t love stories?

The writer, Luke, does not go into circles on what the parable means. The purpose is clearly stated, they ought always to pray and not lose heart.

We have to pay attention to who is telling the story. Knowing that this is Jesus talking to his disciples, in an effect, talking to us (if we are followers of Christ, we are his disciples).

Here’s a short video of a modern retelling of the persistent widow.

 

II. The Parable

He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man.

How are we like the judge?

The-Judge-TC-1.jpg

Number one, This judge does not fear God and number two, He does not respect man. In short, this guy is not accountable to anyone. He is his own god. We may be like that. We don’t think of anyone but ourselves. Here’s an example of us thinking about ourselves. When we go out, say we go to Starbucks, do we make sure everyone gets to sit or do we think where should I sit? Or if we go to a buffet, who gets to eat first? Or if we are in a public transportation, do we think of others or do we think of our own comfort?

Before we go thinking that this judge should not be in office, may we remember that we all may be similar to the judge. We’re selfish. We don’t really care about anything but ourselves. In this election season, we see people clamoring for their candidates yet totally ignore the law specially if it does not benefit them.

This judge does not believe he will be accountable before God. As a result, he live his life with arrogance, he sits on his throne giving out verdicts, he has the power, he has control over people.

This judge does not care about people. So what if you are inconvenienced? So what if you don’t get your justice? It does not concern him at all.

So we ought to ask the question to ourselves. How are we like the judge?

First, Do we fear God? Do you respect God? Do you honor God? Trouble begins when we don’t see God in the picture. Whenever we feel that we are “god” in our decision making, when we want to have our way instead of submitting to a sovereign, when we know that it does not glorify God and we do it anyway, that is why it is important to keep on asking…who is God in the picture? Where is God in my decision making? We would always emphasize that Lordship is all or nothing. To be submitted to His Lordship meant being constantly aware that God is in our midst. That I ought to be careful that my actions, my words, my thoughts…I am accountable to God.

Second, do we care about people? We live in a society where we have the victim mentality. We are abused by people around us, we feel that people take advantage over us, that people bully us, but really, we ourselves bully others. We would abuse those who are weaker than us. Look at our schedule and budget. That’s checking our time and money. How much do we spend for people? How much of our time is spent in building relationships? So if I check your schedule, does it reflect that you care for people? If we have a chart of your spending, does it show that you care about people? Maybe you feel compassion but you don’t act out compassion. We can’t say “I love you” and not spend. Love is what you do. So if you love people, you would spend time with them, and you would spend resources for them.

Third, how do we respond to a person who is vulnerable? The widow in the story is vulnerable yet the judge doesn’t care about her. The judge dismisses her case. He exploits that. He ignores her. He doesn’t care.

A person walks in our church. What do you do? A lady does not know who to talk to, do you exploit that or do you take care of her? A guy comes in and he looks interesting. Do we manipulate that person or do we protect him?

We’ve got to ask ourselves all the time. When we meet someone who is vulnerable financially, vulnerable spiritually, vulnerable physically, vulnerable emotionally, are we like the judge to them? Do we cease to protect them? Do we take advantage of them? Do we exploit them? If so, it’s all sin.

How are we like the judge? We are sinners and we have victims.

And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’

We ourselves are victims as well. While we are sinners and we have victims, we also have been victimized by others. The question is how are we like the widow?

960.jpg

This widow strives for justice. What do we strive for? This woman is persistent. What are you persistent about? This woman is fighting for something. What are we fighting for? We have to consider what it is that we fight for. When we fight for our candidates for the election season, these politicians will be friends after the election while we would lose friends afterwards. Was it worth it? Was it worth losing friends over people who don’t know you at all?

You know what’s worth fighting for? Jesus is worth fighting for. The Kingdom of God is worth fighting for. The Church. Justice. Family. The oppressed. What things are worth fighting for for you? What things has God burdened your heart to be fighting for, not that you want to be a contentious person, but you want to be a persistent person pursuing things that the heart of God has laid upon your heart.

For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’”

Being persistent pays off. To a corrupt judge, he will give justice just so he can have peace and not be hassled by the widow. It’s a small price to pay for him. The lesson is that we ought to have that attitude specially that Jesus has already given us the main idea before hand. Pray and not lose heart.

So let’s unpack what is then being persistent in prayer?

III. A Kingdom Attitude

Prayer is talking to God. The Bible is how God speaks to us. It’s a two way relationship. We talk to God, He talks to us. Just like any relationship, if we want this relationship to grow, we ought to be persistent in communicating to Him as well as listening to Him. How’s your prayer life? Non-existent? How’s your devotionals? Do you take time to write what He is telling you? It’s either you are in a relationship with Him or you are not. There’s no in between. There’s no friendzone with God. It’s either you’re talking to one another or you’re not.

God is a father, that what Scriptures tell us. As a Father, he has three options to our request. Yes, No, or Later. We persist because perhaps the answer is later. It’s like when we were kids. We want to play outside but it’s lunchtime. So we ask our parents, can we play outside? Our parents would say “later” or “not now”, but we would persist in asking but our parents won’t let us because it is not good for us. God as Father wants what is best for us. So sometimes, the “No” or the “Later” is for our own good.

Prayer works even if it is unanswered. Usually, we pray when we want something but God wants us to pray because he wants to mold our hearts. What do we mean by that? Look at what Scripture teaches us about prayer. Pray for your enemies (Matt. 5:44). Why? Because in praying for your enemies, your heart can be molded, so you won’t be bitter, you won’t be calloused, you learn to love them, to care for them, to grieve for them. Change happens to you, not towards who you are praying for.

And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says.

And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them?

I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily.

We pray because one of the attributes or character of God is He is just. Meaning, he won’t allow wickedness to rule. He won’t allow injustice to prevail. He will give justice to HIS ELECT (those who are his). However, it will be done in His terms, not ours.

What about the Ampatuans? The men who massacred our soldiers (remember the SAF 44)? What about the politicians who plunder our country? What about those who kill via the death squad?

God is just. He will give justice in His own time. Our part is to be persistent in prayer.

What about those who wronged us?

God is just. He will give justice in His own terms, not yours.

#1 Prayers need not to be eloquent. You don’t go to your dad and say…

Dearest father, we first would like to thank you for your kind provision in our former days. Furthermore, we know that you have the ability to grant requests, and we acknowledge that gladly. Furthermore, in addition, our sub-point is this, that we would beseech you, though undeserving as we are, that perhaps in your great mercies, we could have ice cream for dessert.

You go to your Father and say, “Dad, I want ice cream!” Let your dad know and he will be happy to hear.

What about those who are Fatherless? God is a Father to the Fatherless. Don’t measure your father to the Father in heaven because they are not evenly matched. God is way so much better than earthly fathers.

#2 Prayers don’t need to be long. One of my favorite writers wrote…

When thou prayest, rather let thy heart be without words, than thy words without a heart. —John Bunyan

When we pray, it can be thirty seconds or shorter than that. OR it can be thirty minutes or longer than that. When you converse with someone, you don’t say…”hey we’ve been talking for five minutes, time is up!” Rather, when you talk, you just speak out your thoughts not minding the time. Some of us like talking intimately, like going to the side, talk with one another. Sometimes, we talk really loud. The volume isn’t the issue here, nor is the time. The issue here is that you and God need to talk. Sometimes, we just need to pray by saying, “God, help!”

#3 Prayers don’t need to be repetitive. It’s weird when we keep on saying something over and over again. In our language, we call this “unli” (as in unlimited). You don’t say…

Oh, chocolate ice cream, we love chocolate ice cream. We want chocolate ice cream. We’d like a big bowl of chocolate ice cream. My brother would like chocolate ice cream. We like sprinkles on our ice cream. We like marshmallows on our ice cream. We would like whipped cream on our sprinkles on our chocolate ice cream. Could you please give us the ice cream?

Rather, you go straight to the point. Persist in prayer. Just keep talking to your Father.

Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”

Persist in talking to God until this life comes to an end. You and I will find justice when we meet our maker. We may not be thinking about it but eternity is way far more longer than life here on earth.

Justice came for us at the cross. What does that mean? God is just and merciful. He sees us and says, you deserve to die because of your sins. Remember that the wages of sin is death. You cheat, you die. You lie, you die. You swear, you die. You deserve death. That’s justice. Now mercy on the other hand is this. Knowing you deserve death, I am going to take your place. You’re forgiven. Someone died in your place. That is when mercy and justice met.

Justice for those who don’t have Christ will be at the end. Revelations talk about a day when everybody is held accountable for all of their sins. The punishment is eternal torment. Guess who the judge is? John 5:22. Jesus is the one who will be the judge. He knows everything. He sees everything. He knows our hearts. He knows our thoughts.

So one day, Jesus is coming back. That’s what he meant when he says “when the Son of Man comes”. Will you then be in faith, walking in truth in that day or will you be sinning and rebelling against God? Jesus is saying…

I am the Son of Man (God). There will be a day of reckoning. Trust me. Persist. Be patient. Persevere until that day comes.

The Bible teaches us that we need to persevere. It is something that is being repeated over and over again.

So…Persevere in this life. Persist in praying. Don’t quit. 

Can you do me a favor? If these ideas resonate with you, would you:

• REACT. Do something.
• RESPOND. Leave a comment on this post.
• REPOST. Repost this link on Twitter, Facebook or your blog.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s