A large part of the message at my church this Sunday was on instant miracles in an instant culture. Pastor Gocha* used the illustrative concept of the microwave and the crock pot and applied it to prayer life. The thought was that we want instant answers to prayer (and might I add affirmative answers to prayer) and we expect God to respond like a microwave-God. Petition, Zap, Blessing. I think he’s right. At least for me he’s right. It is difficult to wait for the slow simmer of a crock pot when I am in the middle of life. I replayed this in my head today as I read through Luke 4-5.
In Luke 5:1-11 Jesus is speaking to the crowd and asks Simon to take him away from shore so he could teach from the boat. After he has completed his teaching he asks Simon to drop his nets into the deep water for a catch. Simon replies, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything [In my head that reads: Really God, you want me to do that again? I’ve tried that a million times and it hasn’t worked]. But because you say so, I will let down the nets” (v. 5). I love the obedience of this verse. Even though I’ve ‘been there, done that’ I will follow your command. I’ll confess that some of my prayers, especially those of the microwave variety, are: “God why do I have to keep doing this over and over. Do it my way. Now. Because I say so.” Sad isn’t it?
Here’s what really made me pause. When Simon obeys Jesus he is blessed beyond his imagination. Verses 6 and 7 read, “When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. So they signaled their partners in another boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.” Amazing! Belief, obedience, blessing: a very un-microwaved approach.
I strive for that level of belief and obedience in my walk. I also strive to receive a blessing the way Simon demonstrated in verse 8: “When SImon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, ‘Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” What a humbling response. So, here’s confession number two: If my approach to prayer sometimes resembles a microwave, my response to an answered prayer often resembles a slot machine. I pray (Come on lucky sevens!) and sometimes I hit the jackpot. Response: “Yee-ha, Jackpot!” Insert next request and pull the lever again.
I pray for the humility to fall on my knees in desperation and longing whenever I approach Him in prayer, knowing that I may not get the response I want in my time. And that’s ok. I also pray that I will develop the level of spiritual humility to fall on my knees when prayers are answered, with total gratitude for my undeserved gifts.
*Looking for some aspiring crock pots to worship with in the Detroit area or would you like to hear a podcast of this message? Check out The Woods at http://www.nazarene.org/
Tomorrow I should be reading Luke 6 and 7 but I really want to comment on Luke 5:17-26. So, I guess this is now a 41 Day study :)
P.S. This has nothing to do with anything but I had to share. When I did a Google image search for a picture of a slot machine it returned this: The Jack Potty (actual name!) available at many fine retailers including Walmart and Sears (no, this is not a joke). This is wrong on so many levels I had to share it! Discuss…