Stray dogs have no home and must, therefore, fend for themselves by visiting dumpsters. Now imagine a stray dog that has decided that it will only eat from the best dumpsters, no matter how hard it may be for it to do so, and has found a rich man’s house whose dumpsters are full of exotic food leftovers, ie. $100/lb steaks imported from Japan, lobster flown in from Maine, caviar from Russia, desserts from Paris, etc… But rich neighborhoods don’t usually tolerate stray animals; so the dog takes a huge risk by venturing there. The rich man’s servants are sure to kick, spit on, and verbally abuse the dog when they see it hanging around the back of the house near the dumpsters. But the dog knows what it wants, and is willing to put up with it all!
So while most of this dog’s friends go to the easy dumpsters, it goes to the better, though more dangerous, ones, and ends up looking better than them because it eats better food! Because you see, the leftovers of a $100/lb steak still carry pieces of the $100/lb steak. The leftovers of lobster from Maine still carry pieces of that succulent lobster. And the leftover from the Parisian cake still carries all the heavenly goodness of the original cake. So by eating all this better food, the dog looks better than the rest!
ONE OF THE BIGGEST HINDRANCES TO THE SUCCESS OF CHRISTIANITY AS A FAITH IN THIS WORLD is that its followers have not learned to do what it takes to become who God has in mind for them to be! We all want the blessings promised in the Word of God, but we are far too unwilling to pay the price for those blessings.
During Jesus’ time, there was a woman who knew what she wanted for her daughter, and was willing to pay whatever price in order to get it. Here’s her story, as told in Matthew 15:21-28:
“Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 22 A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.” 23 Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.” 24 He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.” 25 The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said. 26 He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.” 27 “Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.” 28 Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment.” (NIV)
The divine plan for the salvation of mankind was that Jesus would bring it to the Jews first, then make it available for all other peoples after His death and resurrection. Therefore, He concentrated His ministry on the Jews only. But here came a woman who was not of Jewish descent, and who needed healing for her daughter. And she came to the Lord to ask of Him divine healing, which, at that time, was exclusively reserved for the Jews. And in order to remind her of this, the Lord gave an analogy in which He basically likened the woman to a dog. But the woman reacted to the insult by agreeing with it, and made a plea for JUST A CRUMB of the thing she needed.
If every believer in this world learned how to attract even just a crumb of the Lord’s power in their lives, Christianity would be so much more effective than it has been, because the power of the God that Christians call upon would be so much more evident in their lives! And this evidence would validate Christianity as not just a religion, but as the place to find the one true God who is real, and who does great and mighty things in the lives of those who believe in Him!
The point of the story of the stray dog is that good things do not come easy! And since the things that come from God are the BEST OF THE BEST, they couldn’t possibly be expected to come easy! With this understanding, every believer ought to determined himself to do whatever it’ll take for him to obtain what he needs from the Lord. All over the Bible we see stories that teach us that there are prices to pay to get the results we need in life! The Canaanite woman in this story had to put up with being called a dog in order to receive the healing for her daughter! The stray dog had to put up with all manner of abuse and beating in order to eat the better food that it desired! Hannah, the mother of the great prophet Samuel, had to put up with being called a drunk by the high priest in order to receive Samuel! Blind Bartimeaus had to put up with insults from the crowd in order to get the Lord Jesus’ attention and get Him to heal his blindness.
Here’s a story I love to tell of a young woman who desired to change her life from one of poverty and lack, to one of prosperity and abundance. When she heard about the principle of sowing and reaping, she decided to sow her meager salary for the next 6 month. So the next time she got paid, she faithfully took her entire salary to church and sowed it. She did the same with her next 5 paychecks. Was this easy for her to do? NO!!! She got kicked out of her apartment for her inability to pay her rent, and had to move in with friends. Feeding herself and affording the basic things a person needs in life obviously became a serious issue for her as well. She had to endure abuse and insults from people who thought she was stupid and crazy to take her entire salary and give to the church – for 6 months!
Sometime after she did this, the chief of the community where she lived heard about what she did and decided to honor her actions by giving her a parcel of land. Then shortly after this, the representatives of a big multinational company came to that community to buy a piece of land on which to build a factory. The woman’s land happened to be exactly where they wanted, and they bought it for a very substantial sum. The woman invested the money into a business deal that made her a millionaire. This is how the young woman went from being a poor office worker to becoming a millionaire.
So I ask you, dear brethren, what do you want in this life, and how badly do you want it??? Badly enough to put up with the tough price that you might have to pay in order to get it? The Lord Jesus made this one thing clear to us in Luke 14:28, where He said “…for which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?” (KJV)
Some of the major things that prevents people from doing what it takes to follow divine principles are: lack of knowledge, fear, indiscipline, carelessness, spiritual weakness, etc…
– Lack of knowledge of what to do. So many churches do not teach the divine principles that are hidden throughout the Scriptures. If that young lady had never heard of the principle of sowing and reaping, she would not have tried it. This is why the Lord lamented in Hosea 4:6 “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge…” (KJV)
– The fear of the hardship that comes with doing what it takes; the fear of what people might say…
– Indiscipline, which prevents those who do know of the principles, from properly following the principles, and seeing the results.
– Carelessness of those who don’t care about the way their lives reflect on God. They don’t understand that their lives must give glory to God, and so they don’t care to put to work the divine principles which would help to conform their lives to that which would give glory to God. and because they don’t care, they don’t hate their life situations enough to want to do what needs to be done to change it.
– Spiritual weakness, that prevents so many believers from tackling tough spiritual issues. Under this category come factors such as weakness in prayer, in fasting, in the study of the Word, etc… WITHOUT SPIRITUAL ENABLEMENT FROM GOD, a believer cannot live victoriously in this world!!!
So once again, I ask you, what do you want, and how badly do you want it? Badly enough to determine in your heart and mind that nothing, not the fear of hardship, of humiliation, of pain, of uncertainty, of having to wait on God’s time, of going on long fasts, of praying for long hours, will stop you from doing what you need to do in order to see a change in your life? I hope so! And I pray that our good Lord would pour His grace upon you to help you do what it takes to get what you need, to His glory!