Don't Settle for Crumbs

Mark 7:24-30

We could interpret the message of today's Gospel to be that..... God is throwing a party and we're all invited!  Everybody gets to have a good time at his party. If we ever feel like we’ve been locked out or knocked down, the good news is, the God we serve will pick us up and place our feet on solid ground.  By the power of Jesus, we have access to God and we needn't settle for anything less than admittance to his banquet.


But what happens when we feel that we are not invited to the party? What if we feel as if we're not qualified?  What happens when we feel left out, feel unworthy, dirty, and unclean?


In the Gospel, certain people, like the woman in the story, were thought to be not really invited to the party. The prevailing theology of Jesus’ day was that people who didn’t have the right status or background need not enter.  In fact, the reason they were in this outcast condition, supposedly, was because God didn't look favorably on them.   Jesus enters into this "unclean" Gentile territory.


This woman was desperate.  Her daughter was possessed by a demon.  She heard that Jesus was coming to town. She had to see him.  She had to see for herself what this Jesus guy was all about.  But,.. she was a Gentile. Could she go up to Jesus and ask for a blessing? Could she ask for a healing? Who did she think she was... going up to Jesus and asking for an invitation to come to the party?


But that didn’t stop the woman. She ran up to Jesus, bowed down to him and asked for help. We can almost hear her saying, “I know this isn’t protocol, I know I could get into trouble. I know that people think I am crazy. I tried everything that I know how.  I know that I probably look bad right now, my hair is a mess, no make-up, in some old dress, but Lord I need you right now! I don’t care who sees me. I don’t care who knows about it. I don’t care what people say about me. I don’t care what might happen.  Lord, I need help.... and I need it right now!

Even when Jesus tried to throw her off with the dog comment, she said to him “even the dogs eat the crumbs from the master’s table.”  In other words "Jesus, I know what you were sent to do, I know that you are here for your people, but right now Lord, my child is sick and needs a healing and set free. I don’t care what you do Lord, don’t care how you do it, all I know is that my child is in need of a miracle, and I’ll take the crumbs in order for it to get done”.

The good news for her, and for us is, we don’t have to take the crumbs; Jesus gave her the whole meal. He welcomed her to the party! Because of her faith, she was given what she wanted. We can hear Jesus saying, “You don’t have to eat the crumbs- you can have the whole meal!”

We can come to Jesus just as we are, and get the blessing that we need.  What the woman did when she bowed down, was in actuality, to stand up, and open the door for all of us who feel uninvited.

We may think we're only worthy of the crumbs sometimes, but we don’t need to settle. If we resign ourselves to partial or deteriorating health, don’t settle for the crumbs- ask for healing. If we think our child or grandchild won’t ever come around, don’t settle for the crumbs - ask for God to bless the child.  If we think our monthly budget will only get tighter if not worse, don’t settle for the crumbs- ask for God's provision. If we think that our relationship with a loved one has been irreversibly damaged, don't settle for the crumbs- ask for reconciliation.


Our faith teaches us that we can go boldly to the throne of grace just as we are and ask the One who gives us strength, to help us in our time of need. In Matthew we hear, “Ask and it shall be given unto you; seek and you shall find; knock and it shall be opened to you.”  Anytime we petition the throne of grace, earnestly seeking the Lord's help, we will be heard, and answers are given. Jesus says, "Come as you are, wherever you are, and don’t let any one stop you.  For you too are a child of God, with an open invitation to the party."


So, as we navigate our way through our day today, let us pray that the Holy Spirit will move us to from a passive faith, asking for the crumbs, to a determined faith, asking for more of his favor.  We can step out in faith because of our confidence in knowing that God's will for each of us is to become the best version of ourselves.  We ask Jesus today for his guidance to help us take those first steps of faith.  We know that we have his assurance that he will be there to carry us the rest of the way!


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