"No Longer Rhetorical"
October 13, 2008
What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? Luke 11:11-12
A rhetorical question is a query whose answer ought to be so obvious it doesn't need a reply. When Jesus asked the questions which serve as the basis for this devotion, I always thought they were rhetorical questions.
Apparently, they're not.
There are adults who don't give good gifts to children. A few weeks ago, Chinese officials reported contaminated milk powder had sickened more than 1,200 babies. A number of those babies have died.
Was this an accident? No. Four men have been arrested and 17 have been detained for adding the chemical melamine to the raw milk they purchased from farmers. The unprincipled men thought the chemical, usually used in making plastics and fertilizers, would boost the milk's protein content.
I don't know if it did that. I do know it has caused kidney stones, renal failure, and death to the children who have consumed the stuff.
What kind of men would do such a thing? Men who believe in private profit rather than the public good did it. As one global health expert has said, China faces a "systematic lack of business ethics."
Maybe Jesus' question wasn't as rhetorical as I once thought.
Because the world is a little bit nutty is why we must pay close attention to the point Jesus was making. Following Jesus' questions as quoted above, the Savior said, "If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!"
We are blessed. We have a Father who always, and that word always is all-inclusive -- who always does what is best for us. He sent His Son to take our place, to bear our sins, to die our death, to rise so we might have forgiveness and eternal life.
But God's gifts didn't end 20 centuries ago with the Savior's resurrection and ascension. Our Father continues to shower blessings upon us. Right now, even as you read this devotion, the Holy Spirit is with you. The Holy Spirit who once called you to faith in Jesus is now doing all that is necessary to keep you in the Father's family of grace.
In a dark and dismal world, where men poison children's milk, I give thanks to have a Savior who is, and who gives His people sustaining hope and peace.
THE PRAYER: Dear heavenly Father, first I pray for the children of China who have been poisoned by unscrupulous men. If it is possible, let these little ones survive their ordeal and have their health restored. More importantly, may they -- and all the world's children -- be given spiritual health and hope in their risen Redeemer. In the Savior's Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries