Wednesday, February 24, 2016

The Big Ask: we should all be more like Leslie Knope

I was blessed by Caz’s sermon about asking God for big things. I loved hearing the amazing story of how we came together as a church to raise the funds to build our building. In the stories we focused on, Jesus asked big questions. John 5 is the story of the sick man at Bethesda, who spent years next to the healing waters of Bethesda. Caz said the waters may not have actually healed people, but it seems as if the man believed they healed. Some versions of the Bible have verses in brackets beginning in John 5:3 that the sick would be “[[c]waiting for the moving of the waters; for an angel of the Lord went down at certain seasons into the pool and stirred up the water; whoever then first, after the stirring up of the water, stepped in was made well from whatever disease with which he was afflicted.” (NASB). Early manuscripts do not have the portion in the brackets.
            As a poet, I prefer to believe an angel moved the water, and if you ask nicely I’ll show you a poem I wrote called “Bethesda.” However, either way, this man who was not able to get into the water was asked by Jesus if he wanted to get well. His answer focused on why he couldn’t get into the healing waters. Caz said we tend to focus on why our big dreams can’t happen instead of asking God for big things. We get comfortable living within sight of our dream or maybe don’t even have a big dream and are just trying to get by.
            At times I have asked God for bold things. And yet it occurred to me today that I don’t consistently ask God to help my 9 month old sleep through the night. Imagine how much more effective I would be in every area of my life and ministry if I slept through the night. Why am I not asking God every day for this? How do we get so comfortable being in sight of what we really want but assume we cannot have? What if we asked God for things we need but don’t think He’ll do, like take things off of our plate when we are carrying too much?
            Leslie Knope, the lead character of Parks and Recreation is one of my favorite fictional characters. She would dream big. She would boldly ask for land to be donated. Through persistence and ingenuity, she accomplished bigger and bigger dreams. Let’s borrow the tenacity of Leslie as we approach our grand opening and begin this new chapter in our church. Join me in continuing to ask God for big things: an abundance of enthusiastic volunteers, funds and vision for whatever ministry our church is supposed to have, and that the people who are supposed to be here will be here. Let us ask boldly for God to give us big dreams and then help us fulfill those dreams.
Beth Kropf