Monday, November 28, 2005

Don't settle for crumbs

And behold, a Canaanite woman from that region came out and was crying, "Have
mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely oppressed by a
demon." 23But he did not answer her a word. And his disciples came and begged
him, saying, "Send her away, for she is crying out after us." 24He answered, "I
was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." 25But she came and
knelt before him, saying, "Lord, help me." 26And he answered, "It is not right
to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs." 27She said, "Yes, Lord,
yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters' table." 28Then
Jesus answered her, "O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you
desire." And her daughter was healed instantly. (Matthew 15:22-28, ESV)

Jesus is testing this woman's faith. He tells her that He came only for the Jews, but she knows that in Him alone is hope for life and victory. In Bruce Marchiano's portrayal of Jesus in the Visual Bible's presentation of the book of Matthew, Jesus is portrayed as being full of vibrance and joy. During this scene, when she is willing to settle for even the "crumbs" of His ministry, a big smile comes across His face. Of course, it would be out of character for Jesus to provide only crumbs for her; that moment her daughter is healed.

I don't think God wants us to settle for crumbs in our relationships either. My wife had seen me doing that, and it really bothered her. And it bothers me deeply when my wife, my soul mate, the woman to whom my heart is knit, is not valued properly. I read a book where a woman went to meet a friend at a restaurant to discuss a matter of great personal importance. She started pouring her heart out, only to discover that her friend's attention was not on her but on the TV show behind her. Of course, the woman was crushed. She wanted attention and compassion, but got crumbs. When my wife and I are merely given crumbs while putting our hearts out to others, we too are crushed.

Yes, we should love everybody unconditionally, but I believe that God wants us to spend most of our time around those who build us up and truly care about us. He tells us not to be unequally yoked. How many times have you heard about couples where one is not a Christian? So often, it's the Christian who compromises his values to the non-believing spouse. If that's the case in marriage, should we not expect that hanging around non-Christians, or selfish Christians, or uncaring Christians, will bring us down as well?

My wife and I have decided we have plenty of people in our lives who love us deeply, who clearly enjoy spending time with us, who value what we say. They welcome us into their homes with open arms, and when others are present they treat each person with equal respect. They go out of their way to make us feel valued. That's true friendship, the kind Jesus would smile at. So why should we settle for crumbs when such a feast awaits us?

And it should go without saying that we aren't going to offer crumbs in our relationships either. Only miserable people do, after all. May the Lord help us to love abundantly and joyously, as He does.

English Standard Version (ESV)
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by
Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.

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At 10:32, Blogger Joy in the Journey said...

"See the Glory" is one of my favorite songs by Steven Curtis Chapman. The chorus of the songs goes like this:

I'm playing GameBoy sitting in the middle of the Grand Canyon,
I'm eating candy sitting at a gormet feast,
I'm playing in a puddle when I could be swimming in the ocean.
I know the time has come for me,
Wake up and see the glory.

I don't want no crumbs--I want the nine-course meal from soup to nuts. Wistfully, if only others wanted the same thing as well. . .

May Jesus bless your day,


At 11:23, Blogger Guppyman said...

I partially agree with this, but with a BUT....

I agree that we should hang out with those who build us up, but I also believe that we should hang out with those who need to be built up too. The "non-Christians, or selfish Christians, or uncaring Christians" that you spoke of... We need to welcome these folks and show them what we have- Hopefully it will rub off on them.

I look at the folks Jesus hung out with... They were hardly the righteous ones....

Just some thoughts...

It's funny that you posted that verse... we just had a discussion about that the other day...

At 11:42, Blogger Jeff said...

Joy, reminds me of this C. S. Lewis quote: "We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased."

guppyman, I agree with you, to an extent. I didn't mean to imply that we should shun those people, but they should not (in my opinion) make up the bulk of our relationship time. And while the disciples were quite faulty, I think their hearts were in the right place.

At 13:34, Blogger Cary said...

Good post, Jeff. Thank you for the encouraging word.

I agree with what you meant, not allowing the non-Christians to take up most of our time. The quality, loving time should be spent with our "family", and the ones who need to be reached - well, they need to be reached, so go out and touch their lives - but don't allow that to become all you ever do, or you will never be fed yourself.

Blessings to you and yours!

At 16:16, Blogger Jeff said...

Cary, you are so right about being fed. I know that if I'm too much around those who hate God or are apathetic about Him, I need to be refreshed in Him or I'll be weakened.

At 13:39, Blogger The Gospel According to John said...

hello, just traveling through the blogosphere seeing who's out there that like Jesus films. God bless!


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