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Sunday, October 25, 2009

Feasting on Crumbs

I've often considered the woman who came to Jesus for deliverance for her daughter. Matthew 15:22-28 tells it this way: ...Jesus took a trip to Tyre and Sidon. They had hardly arrived when a Canaanite woman came down from the hills and pleaded, "Mercy, Master, Son of David! My daughter is cruelly afflicted by an evil spirit."

Jesus ignored her.

The disciples came and complained, "Now she's bothering us. Would you please take care of her? She's driving us crazy. Jesus refused, telling them, "I've got my hands full dealing with the lost sheep of Israel." Then the woman came back to Jesus, went to her knees, and begged. "Master, help me."

He said, "It's not right to take bread out of children's mouths and throw it to dogs."

She was quick: "You're right, Master, but beggar dogs do get scraps from the master's table."

Jesus gave in. "Oh, woman, your faith is something else. What you want is what you get!" Right then her daughter became well. (The Message)

Many lessons can be gleaned from this passage: The woman, though not an Israelite (and therefore not part of the crowd Jesus was sent to preach to first), had the temerity to ask for something that was not hers. Many of us quit asking Jesus because He doesn't answer immediately. Many of us quit asking because we don't get the response we wanted. Even more of us don't attempt to ask once because we don't think we're part of the in-crowd. We're not good enough. We don't rank as high as a deserving person.

Yet, the woman persisted and began to harangue the disciples; they scattered like rats on a sinking ship and tried to pawn her off on Jesus. Jesus left the matter in their hands because His mission was to Israel. Testing is going on here, people. Testing of the disciples, testing of this woman's faith. How determined was she to attain her daughter's healing? She was bold, that is certain but, did she have the tenacity and determination to keep pressing until she got what she came for.

Read it. "Then the woman came back to Jesus, went to her knees, and begged. 'Master, help me.'" Tenacity isn't regarded much these days. It is particularly true of women. When we're tenacious it's called aggressive, bossy, domineering. Yet, here she was, being tenacious. What did it get her?

"He (Jesus) said, 'It's not right to take bread out of children's mouths and throw it to dogs.'" Ow.

He basically called her a dog--put her on the same level, anyway. Most of us would have quit right there. Was Jesus being mean? Surely His words cut but what was He after? Testing is going on here, people. How deep was the woman's commitment? Was she willing to be put in her place in front of everyone? What was she willing to sacrifice to secure her daughter's healing? In the face of the insult, the woman responds showing her acknowledgment of who she was, but continuing to cast aside her own embarrassment to attain what she came for: the healing.

Tenacity at it's best. Focused determination.

How did she respond to the insult? "She was quick: 'You're right, Master, but beggar dogs do get scraps from the master's table.'"

She agreed but added, "I'll take the crumbs. Just give me a crumb." This bold demonstration of faith under pressure so moved Jesus that He not only healed her daughter but commended her giant-sized faith. He established her, in front of everyone, as the model of faith.

Her persistence, tenacity, and boldness were rewarded. Her willingness to suffer the sting of rejection (by Jesus first, and then by the disciples, then by Jesus again) resulted in fortifying her determination, not extinguishing it. Her fortitude in seeking healing allowed her to endure the sting of public embarrassment and rejection for her motive was to do whatever it cost to secure healing for a loved one.

Jesus rewarded her great faith by giving her exactly what she came for. The woman was insulted and tested publicly; she was blessed and affirmed publicly. In applying this lesson to my own life, I recall many such instances. "I'll take a crumb, Lord. Even a crumb. But I'm not giving up."

As a result, I've received many healings and blessings personally. I've also seen Him heal and bless those I love because of His nature, because He values faith, because He values tenacity. Keep asking, keep pressing, the answer is on it's way.


Clinton Liederman said...

interesting blog post to say the least. I always struggled to understand this passage of scripture. Thanks for sharing your views. Great blog!

Pat Marcantel (harvestworker) said...

This is wonderful post. So many of us miss out on many things because of a lack of tenacity. The things we cannot afford to miss out on are His blessings--which don't always come at our first prayer. Lord, may we become tenacious bulldogs for You!
Thanks for sharing what the Holy Spirit reveals to you.

Meg Stenman said...

So often I feel bad asking Him for my needs -- it's easy to ask for others, but I tend to feel selfish when the asking is personal. Thanks for reminding me that not only is it ok, but that is what He wants! He wants us to go to him...all we have to do is ask.

Thanks for a great read and a great reminder!

Jane said...

Debbi, my friend, you once again took a crumb and created a feast in the spiritual sense. Great analogy, great truth. I would rather taste the crumbs of HIS table, than feast at the OTHER banquet table. So good! Thanks for sharing your heart so beautifully! Blessings, Jane

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