Alas, Master! For It Was Borrowed

Most of us know where the above title originated. If we have had catechetical instruction or Sunday school along with home training we know about the young prophet who joined a group of the other prophets and went to the Jordan River to cut timber for a new building. While felling a beam this man’s ax head slipped from the handle and fell in the water, and when he made known his plight, the prophet Elisha took a stick and cast it into the water and the iron swam. A miracle, you say, which indeed it was. Years ago a professor from the Netherlands preached a sermon about this incident. I was still quite young at the time, and not too deeply interested in a Dutch sermon on a warm Sunday afternoon. Nevertheless, one of the points of his sermon

impressed me enough to remember it—“Pat God Zich Imlaat Met Het Kleine.’’ which loosely translated means; God is concerned with the seemingly insignificant. I am not able to translate this without losing some of the meaning. We would come close by saying, with God no issues or even details are unimportant.

Think also of the two sparrows that sold for a farthing, yet not one would fall to the ground without the will of the Father. And again, think of the poor widow who cast two mites into the treasury, yet in the eyes of the Lord she cast in more than all.

Now back to the young prophet, apparently he was more concerned about reporting the missing ax to its owner, than he was about not cutting the lumber. He could take his ax handle and wait by the fire until it was time to go home, but the Lord interfered and the prophet put him back to work.

About the sparrow? No young lad appeared with his sling shot to knock down at least one to the ground. God interfered for it was not the will of the Father that one should be killed.

The Bible does not tell us any more about these particular birds but that they built their nests in the outer court of the temple and we can readily understand why, for here was food and water and much activity.

These sparrows were obeying the mandate to be fruitful and multiply. They watched as the merchants (both honest and otherwise) brought in the sheep, cattle, and doves which they sold to the Israelites that came to sacrifice at the temple. They also watched when doves were sold, but were not aware that it was the will of the Father that these doves must die upon the altar while they, the sparrows, would live.

They might have noticed the rich rabbi as he came in with his retinue carrying a bag of money as he swaggered toward the treasure chest. A brief prayer followed by a noisy deposit of coins. Surely he had his reward. Next an aged widow approached the chest and without giving one thought as to where her next meal was coming from dropped two mites into the chest.

Jesus was there also and watched the entire procedure. He spoke neither to the rabbi nor to the widow, but told his disciples that she had cast in more than all the money placed by the rest. Jesus knew that she had cast in her entire living. No doubt the Lord provided for this widow’s supper that evening. So we ask, “Is God interested in what we call insignificant?’’ Shall we take another look at those sparrows? When their brood was grown, they kicked them out of the nest. The parent birds did not flutter beneath them but neither did the young birds get hurt. They landed on the temple floor but our Heavenly Father taught them to flutter so that they landed safely. God is indeed concerned with the insignificant. Every thought to the smallest detail is known and controlled by Him.

Do not hesitate, therefore, to make your cares and problems known to Him for He takes pleasure in listening to our petitions which we pray in Christ’s name in order that He may grant them. For in our prayers we acknowledge Him as the fount of all good.