The Friend at Midnight / The Persistent widow
Luke 11 & Luke 18
5 Then Jesus went on to say:
Suppose one of you goes to a friend in the middle of the night and says, “Let me borrow three loaves of bread. 6 A friend of mine has dropped in, and I don’t have a thing for him to eat.” 7 And suppose your friend answers, “Don’t bother me! The door is bolted, and my children and I are in bed. I cannot get up to give you something.”
8 He may not get up and give you the bread, just because you are his friend. But he will get up and give you as much as you need, simply because you are not ashamed to keep on asking.
Jesus told his disciples a story about how they should keep on praying and never give up:
2 In a town there was once a judge who didn’t fear God or care about people. 3 In that same town there was a widow who kept going to the judge and saying, “Make sure that I get fair treatment in court.”
4 For a while the judge refused to do anything. Finally, he said to himself, “Even though I don’t fear God or care about people, 5 I will help this widow because she keeps on bothering me. If I don’t help her, she will wear me out.”
6 The Lord said:
Think about what that crooked judge said. 7 Won’t God protect his chosen ones who pray to him day and night? Won’t he be concerned for them? 8 He will surely hurry and help them. But when the Son of Man comes, will he find on this earth anyone with faith?
Two old friends (Joshua the landowner, in bold, and the Judge in plain type) pass each other on the street. Joshua is bleary-eyed and doesn’t notice the Judge until the Judge calls out to him.
Joshua? Joshua, hello! Didn’t you see me?
(yawning) Oh, Judge – hello. Sorry, I’m barely awake this morning. Say, you’re a judge – give me some advice, what can a man do about troublesome neighbours?
Hmmm… that’s a tricky o… (phone rings – Judge looks at the handset, shudders and hangs up) Sorry – tell me a bit about your neigh… (phone rings – Judge looks at the handset again and hangs up again). Humph. Tell me about it.
Well, it only happened yesterday – and when I say ‘yesterday’, I mean in the middle of the night! I was in bed, like any sensible man, when suddenly there was a knock on my door.
And what time was this?
Around about midnight.
That does seem a bit… (phone rings, this time he answers) WHAT NOW?! Yes, I know it’s you! Yes… yes… yes… NO! I won’t put a good word in for you! No, I couldn’t care less about you… nor your children. No, I don’t particularly care what God would say either. Good day, madam! (Hangs up) Anyway, where were we?
(nods at phone) That sounded a bit rough.
Oh my goodness – it’s this widow! She phones me day and night – she even camped outside my house for a fortnight until I had the police move her on. She’s due to appear in court in front of me in about a week’s time and she wants me to be all sympathetic to her plight (mocking) – she wants me to put a good word in for her and (inverted commas) “treat her right” – as if I could care less about her little problems! Now you, my friend, I do care about – tell me what happened – who was at the door?
It was my neighbour! He didn’t even give me time to get up – he just guldered through my letterbox – He’d had visitors arrive unexpectedly and he wanted me to lend him some bread to feed them! The cheek! I was still tucked up in my bed so I yelled down through the open window, “Go away and leave me and my wife and children in peace!”
And did he?
Did he, heck! He kept on banging and calling until I had to get up and give him what he wanted!
The cheek of the (phone rings) SHRIEK! (Answers phone) GO AWAY! (hangs up) The cheek of the man.
Well, you know, I almost had to admire him for his persistence and I knew I’d get no rest until I did what he asked… so I got up, got him some bread and that solved the problem.
Well, I’m glad that that guy has a good neighbour to call on (Phone rings) How do I solve this problem?
You might also need to try my tactic. Perhaps you could hear her out?
Oh, alright then. I suppose it’ll stop her bothering me – I don’t care much for God or for people, but I do care about my own peace of mind. (Answers phone and say, mildy sarcastically) Yes, dear?
(men walk off)
Won’t God protect his chosen ones who pray to him day and night? Won’t he be concerned for them? 8 He will surely hurry and help them.
Jesus told these stories to help us understand what God is *not* like – God is not like the judge and not like this other man. He doesn’t get frustrated when we pray; He’s not a reluctant listener and He doesn’t answer our prayers in a grumpy way. God is our Father and He loves to hear from and help us.