Some manuscripts don’t have this last line of the Lord’s Prayer. For our purposes though, we’re going to include it in here to conclude a look at the Lord’s prayer. The conclusion serves to remind us of what the whole point is. Everything that has been said in the prayer at this point comes to a conclusion reminding us that it’s all about Him.
It’s really easy to lose sight of. One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever read from a friend was that when you get complimented, smile, enjoy it for awhile, and then say “Let’s keep going. We have work to do.” It’s sometimes really good to be in this ministry and hear a lot of good things. I think everyone enjoys hearing compliments. We all need them at times too. We just have to remember that it’s not about us.
In fact, I think that’s why God chooses the shameful of the world. That way, no one can look and say that those who succeed in his cause did it because of how excellent and awesome they were. I do believe many who serve are blessed, but they also have certain disadvantages. They’re not the ones you’d expect.
Lee Strobel interviews J.P. Moreland in the Case for Christ who says that this needs to be considered with the early church. If you were an alien who was watching Earth and saw the early church, a ragtag group of ordinary civilians, going against the Roman Empire, a vast network of nations with armed soldiers, and saw that the soldiers were repeatedly taking the ragtag people and throwing them to lions and lighting them on fire and crucifying them and the people weren’t fighting back, you’d start making bets on the Roman Empire.
Yet today, our sons are named Peter and Paul and our dogs are named Nero and Caesar.
Look at the nations that God could have chosen to send his Son through. You had the Babylonians, a mighty empire that gave us much information on astronomy and trigonometry. There were the Egyptians. Could you find a better group of builders to build such massive works as the pyramids and the sphinx? There were the Phoenicians who developed the precursor to our alphabet today. There were the Greeks that later grew into a nation that gave us our philosophical categories we use today.
Instead, this group wandering in the Middle East descended from some really old guy were chosen.
A famous poem once went, “How odd of God to choose the Jews.”
It then went, “But odder still are those who reject whom God chose.”
In our stories, we often forget that we’re ultimately minor characters. I don’t even care if you were the apostle Paul. Compared to the work of God, what you do is minor. You are simply living out the role that you were fashioned for. There could have been someone else to write the epistles if not Paul. There could not have been someone else to die on the cross.
And yet, we are given the advantage of playing in this story. Yes. It’s an advantage. To serve is a gift. Many of us if we were given the chance to work at our dream job would relish the offer. Imagine if your boss was entirely generous though. He understood you and when you screwed up, he forgave you when you admitted it. He watched out for you and made sure to give you a great retirement plan. All he asked was that you do what you can.
That’s what we’re told to do.
Peter Kreeft once said that apologetics is as close as you come to saving the world. I often think of something like that. I think of reading one of the Smallville story books and how Clark Kent described super-speeding through Metropolis to save his then-friend Lex Luthor and realizing that each second he chose to go after Lex, someone else was suffering who he couldn’t help. Not even Superman can save everyone.
Sometimes when I’ve driven past houses, I’ve wondered what’s going on inside of them. Maybe there’s a teenage girl in there who just found out she’s pregnant and wonders how she’ll tell her parents. Maybe a husband is contemplating suicide because he doesn’t think he’s doing enough for his family and figures they’re better off on life insurance. Maybe a son is wanting to go to college but there’s no way to pay the tuition. What all is going on?
And each person you meet has a story going on.
It’s been said that Philo once said “Be kind, because everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle.”
Would anyone deny that?
Yet somehow, across space and time, all these stories are weaving together. I think of the friends that I’ve made, for instance, and this largely through the use of the internet, who I’ve come to know that I never would have known about if I had lived even fifty years earlier. Stories are weaving more and more as we become a global society.
And yet, the master weaver is still weaving the threads together.
Rest assured also, the story is about him, and it’s for his glory, and he knows how to bring it to a good end.
Are you going to join in that good end?