Imagine a wealthy king told you that he would give you whatever you ask as long as it aligns with his kingdom and direction. Would you consider that extravagant? Would you be excited? Check out my thoughts on Herod’s high-limit whatever here.
Win the Lottery
Every few months, the lottery gets so large that people get crazy. Most lotteries pay out less than 50 cents for every dollar put in. A lottery is one of the least productive investments in the history of the world. Yet, every few months, many people purchase a ticket for the chance of “winning” millions.
Jesus made a different offer: “Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” (John 14:13) He went on (probably the same day) to say “If you abide in Me and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” (John 15:7)
Most of us ask Jesus for stuff all the time. Do we believe Jesus will do whatever we ask in his name? People with medical problems ask to be healed. Some are but many are not. And everyone still dies. Many, many good people have spent their lives asking Jesus to alleviate poverty, or sickness, but as of this writing, those things haven’t happened yet. So how do you reconcile believing Jesus when he makes this statement?
Motives: Whatever You Ask
The way this makes sense to me has to do with what I know of God. God is doing what he will do (Acts 17:25). His plan is to give eternal life to all who want it (Romans 6:23). Eternal life is life abiding with God. He knows us now, and he knew us before we existed (Psalm 139:13-18), but we continue to hide like Adam did (Genesis 3:8). Nothing will be unknown or hidden. Everything will be exposed. God is giving people a chance to choose to join that community (Romans 10:13). When someone joins that community, and when they ask for anything that aligns with God’s work and purpose, they get the benefit of being part of God’s work (John 14:13). And he does whatever they ask. Erwin McManus, in a speech I heard said, “Fall madly in love with Jesus and do whatever!”
As we pursue Jesus, and as he becomes central to our work and our purpose, the things we ask for may even be ideas he gave us.
Jesus is drawing people to himself so they might have eternal life. We can all benefit from freely choosing to move closer to Jesus. So I want whatever I ask to be asking for Jesus to be more visible to more of my friends. And every day, I believe he answers my prayer. When I do what he says, he answers my prayer through me. And even when I don’t he answers it through someone else. Rather than constantly trying to “sway” my friends and coworkers, I simply ask Jesus and then do whatever he guides me to do.