Christ's Object Lessons
by Ellen G. White
Chapter 12: Asking to Give
Based on Luke 11:1-13
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Christ was continually receiving from the Father that
He might communicate to us. "The word which ye
hear," He said, "is not Mine, but the Father's which sent
Me." John 14:24. "The Son of man came not to be
ministered unto, but to minister." Matt. 20:28. Not for
Himself, but for others, He lived and thought and prayed.
From hours spent with God He came forth morning by
morning, to bring the light of heaven to men. Daily He
received a fresh baptism of the Holy Spirit. In the early
hours of the new day the Lord awakened Him from His
slumbers, and His soul and His lips were anointed with
grace, that He might impart to others. His words were
given Him fresh from the heavenly courts, words that He
might speak in season to the weary and oppressed. "The
Lord God hath given Me," He said, "the tongue of the
learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season
to him that is weary: He wakeneth morning by morning,
He wakeneth Mine ear to hear as the learned." Isa. 50:4. [p. 140]
Christ's disciples were much impressed by His prayers
and by His habit of communion with God. One day after
a short absence from their Lord, they found Him absorbed
in supplication. Seeming unconscious of their presence, He
continued praying aloud. The hearts of the disciples were
deeply moved. As He ceased praying, they exclaimed,
"Lord, teach us to pray."
In answer, Christ repeated the Lord's prayer, as He
had given it in the sermon on the mount. Then in a
parable He illustrated the lesson He desired to teach them.
"Which of you," He said, "shall have a friend, and
shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend.
lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine in his journey
is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him?
And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me
not; the door is now shut, and my children are with
me in bed: I cannot rise and give thee. I say unto you,
Though he will not rise and give him because he is his
friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give
him as many as he needeth."
Here Christ represents the petitioner as asking that he
may give again. He must obtain the bread, else he cannot
supply the necessities of a weary, belated wayfarer.
Though his neighbor is unwilling to be troubled, he will
not desist his pleading; his friend must be relieved; and
at last his importunity is rewarded, his wants are supplied.
In like manner the disciples were to seek blessings from
God. In the feeding of the multitude and in the sermon
on the bread from heaven, Christ had opened to them their
work as His representatives. They were to give the bread
of life to the people. He who had appointed their work,
saw how often their faith would be tried. Often they would
be thrown into unexpected positions, and would realize [p. 141] their human insufficiency. Souls that were hungering for
the bread of life would come to them, and they would feel
themselves to be destitute and helpless. They must receive
spiritual food, or they would have nothing to impart. But
they were not to turn one soul away unfed. Christ directs
them to the source of supply. The man whose friend came
to him for entertainment, even at the unseasonable hour of
midnight, did not turn him away. He had nothing to set
before him, but he went to one who had food and pressed
his request until the neighbor supplied his need. And
would not God, who had sent His servants to feed the
hungry, supply their need for His own work?
But the selfish neighbor in the parable does not
represent the character of God. The lesson is drawn, not by
comparison, but by contrast. A selfish man will grant an
urgent request, in order to rid himself of one who disturbs
his rest. But God delights to give. He is full of compassion,
and He longs to grant the requests of those who come
unto Him in faith. He gives to us that we may minister
to others and thus become like Himself.
Christ declares, "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek,
and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.
For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh
findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened."
The Saviour continues: "If a son shall ask bread of any
of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he
ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? or if he
shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If ye then,
being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children,
how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy
Spirit to them that ask Him?"
|A Child Asking for Bread.—Davis Collection.|
In order to strengthen our confidence in God, Christ
teaches us to address Him by a new name, a name entwined [p. 142] with the dearest associations of the human heart. He gives
us the privilege of calling the infinite God our Father. This
name, spoken to Him and of Him, is a sign of our love and
trust toward Him, and a pledge of His regard and relationship
to us. Spoken when asking His favor or blessing, it is
as music in His ears. That we might not think it presumption
to call Him by this name, He has repeated it again and
again. He desires us to become familiar with the appellation.
God regards us as His children. He has redeemed us
out of the careless world and has chosen us to become
members of the royal family, sons and daughters of the
heavenly King. He invites us to trust in Him with a trust
deeper and stronger than that of a child in his earthly
father. Parents love their children, but the love of God is
larger, broader, deeper, than human love can possibly be.
It is immeasurable. Then if earthly parents know how to
give good gifts to their children, how much more shall our
Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask
Christ's lessons in regard to prayer should be carefully
considered. There is a divine science in prayer, and His
illustration brings to view principles that all need to
understand. He shows what is the true spirit of prayer, He
teaches the necessity of perseverance in presenting our
requests to God, and assures us of His willingness to hear and
Our prayers are not to be a selfish asking, merely for
our own benefit. We are to ask that we may give. The
principle of Christ's life must be the principle of our lives.
"For their sakes," He said, speaking of His disciples, "I
sanctify Myself, that they also might be sanctified." John
17:19. The same devotion, the same self-sacrifice, the same
subjection to the claims of the word of God, that were
manifest in Christ, must be seen in His servants. Our
mission to the world is not to serve or please ourselves; we [p. 143] are to glorify God by co-operating with Him to save sinners.
We are to ask blessings from God that we may communicate to
others. The capacity for receiving is preserved
only by imparting. We cannot continue to receive heavenly
treasure without communicating to those around us.
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