I love to watch our animals eat. There is something that happens when I enter the kitchen about 4:45 to start getting the finishing touches to a meal ready. A cat begins to wind itself around my legs and prowling between them and the bench, making sure I can’t do anything well until I notice him. If I ignore him He will plant himself right in the middle of where I need to walk so I have to climb over him or move him. The dog sits in the entrance and moans and whimpers to get my attention and if I ignore him he slumps at the door and give me the evil eye and sulky expression and if I don’t make eye contact he literally eyeballs me. The reason for this annoying behaviour is because they have learnt that being a pet comes with generous helpings of prepared food and the occasional treat off the ground if lucky. Liquorice the cat and Charles our dog both know that before I finish getting our dinner on the table I will pick up their dishes and give them lashing of whatever is planned for their tea or they know that if they are annoying enough it will remind me to call who ever is on duty to feed the animals to come and sort them out. They know that food is available and when it is ready they will be called to eat. The reason they are so keen to eat is because they are hungry and have no source of food at some other table. Our cat and our dog vie for the position of King every day of their lives. They actually believe that the world revolves around them. We sometimes can act like them. What is even funnier to watch is both of them vie for the scraps that we might have available while cutting up something on the bench. It remind me of the woman…
Matthew 15: 21Jesus went away from there, and withdrew into the district of Tyre and Sidon. 22And a Canaanite woman from that region came out and began to cry out, saying, “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is cruelly demon-possessed.” 23But He did not answer her a word. And His disciples came and implored Him, saying, “Send her away, because she keeps shouting at us.” 24But He answered and said, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” 25But she came and began to bow down before Him, saying, “Lord, help me!” 26And He answered and said, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” 27But she said, “Yes, Lord; but even the dogs feed on the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.” 28Then Jesus said to her, “O woman, your faith is great; it shall be done for you as you wish.” And her daughter was healed at once.
This is a bizarre story about the favour of God. Was Jesus being mean?…..Was he being a bully? Was he tormenting this poor woman..like we do with our dog…holding out on him to see what he will do to get crumbs we offer him. Or is that Jesus is seeking to draw out of her what he knew was in her heart..genuine trust and faith regardless of what challenge she faces. I have felt sometimes that I am like the dog and Jesus is tomrenting me and holding up what I need in front of my nose but this story reminds me that there is something he seeking in me that he wants to honour. This woman’s faith is tenacious. It is not halted by torment of challenge. She is willing to belvie that even the scraps of God’s goodness is enough to heal her daughter. If just his scarps are enough …imagine what is avaialbe to us because we belong to him. She willingly responded to his words becasue she knew Him and she believe he could heal. If even the scarps of God’s goodness are enough for you …imagine the inheritance he has promised to those who believe….The mystery is that he has invited us to a banquet and there is no jew or gentile, slave or free, or some perfect candidate picked out for his grace…..you are inivted to come….
This week I invite you to simply believe…he is able!! This woman knew Jesus could heal her daughter and could engage with Jesus at the deepest level becasue she believed. I invite you to believe that the favour of God is available not because of anything you deserve but becasue of who he is!. Jesus honoured her faith and he will honour yours too!