Proclamation and Restoration

“Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. Is there anyone among you who, if your child asked for bread, would give a stone? Or if the child asked for a fish, would give a snake? If you, then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him!

“In everything do to others as you would have them do to you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 7:7–12 NRSV)

These famous and transformational words of Jesus have long encouraged his people that he is here – Emmanuel, God with us. And this gives me such great and abounding joy to be reminded that the Father gives us good gifts.

Where I often race past too quickly is in the specificity that Jesus suggests in all this: the grace and beauty that our good, good Father is attuned to our needs and our requests. Now, of course, we could twist Christ’s meanings here to serve our own selfish desires, but we would be wise to read this with a first-century mindset, people who would likely only know how to read this communally. And the communal good is at the heart of Christ’s desire to bring us into peaceful restoration with him, with others, and with all creation.

In his book Becoming the Church, Claude Alexander remarks, “People need more than proclamation, they need reclamation. They need the extension of hands into the concrete circumstances of their lives to help them rise up into what we have proclaimed.”

As you think about your relationships this day, how are you being called to bring this level of reclamation and restoration through the good gifts of our Father? How is the message of Christ flowing through you in proclamation, yes, but also in concrete circumstances?
Stu Streeter is the NAB VP of Ministry Advancement & Church Multiplication.