Archive | December 5th, 2010

December 5th – God ain’t Father Christmas



Many years ago I knew a minister who was pastor to the Baptist Church nearest to the college of which I was a student at Manchester University. He was chatting to us students one day about his work as a Free Church Chaplain to one of Manchester’s great hospitals.
He explained why he always wore a clerical collar when on duty at the hospital, because some of us young dogs thought that dog collars were a sign which separated ministers from normal life. After all, if you want to put this to the test, make a white cardboard collar (whether you are male or female) and wear it instead of a tie, then go on a train journey, or anywhere, and just see how differently people treat you. Some will glower at you, some will simper, and if there’s a conversation going on when you enter, it will change at once.
However, the Reverend John Willy Townsend, as he was known, told us the reason he wore a dog collar on duty. In his first day going round the wards, wearing a smart dark suit and tie, he stopped at one lady’s bed and asked how she was today, and she immediately flung off her bed sheet and lifted her night-dress for him to see the operation scars. After that he wore his dog collar!
Another time that same minister was confronted by an arrogant consultant surgeon, who told him to play his little prayer games elsewhere. When the pastor asked what he had against praying with patients, the great doctor aggressively asked “Do you mean that if I asked this God of yours for £10,000 he’d give it to me?” , and Townsend replied “Would you give £10,000 to someone you didn’t know?”
I don’t know what the consultant said, but I know that, that day I was taught a good lesson in prayer.
God is not a department store Father Christmas. He doesn’t offer presents willy nilly. He offers his arrogant, ignorant children a priceless gift of knowing him as a person. It’s within that knowledge that Christians learn about asking God for his gifts. This is from Matthew Chapter 7 v. 9-11:
Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!
Today, pray the same teaching from Luke Chapter 11 v. 11-13, and notice what gift the Father longs for you to have.

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The cross of Christ is the key of paradise. (Anon)

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December 2010
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