Everyone knows that kids are relentless with their parents. They never give up when they want something. They may occasionally ask other adults for something but, with the exception of grandparents, they never badger them as they do mom and dad. They are simply fearless when it comes testing the strength of their folks’ patience. I think that kind of fearlessness was what Jesus had in mind when he told the Parable of the Dishonest Judge – who was actually more exhausted than dishonest.
Some understand this parable as encouraging people to relentlessly push God to give us more. On the contrary, this parable is to encourage people to relentlessly give more to life.
Jesus’ point wasn’t that people can wear God down until he acquiesces to their wishes. He was encouraging his hearers to have total trust in God’s love and faithfulness. His point wasn’t that we should keep asking over and over for things that we want. He wanted his disciples to live for the future God offers with complete confidence that it’s not only obtainable but inevitable. Pursue God’s promise without quarter; not by demanding more from God but by fearlessly exercising the freedom he’s already given.
It’s strange that we speak of God as all-wise and all-loving then turn around and pray as though God is clueless about our needs and indifferent about fulfilling them. That makes no sense. It’s as though we believed in a God who has to be cajoled into giving his worshippers gifts and necessities. Jesus’ life and teaching should move us all to seriously examine the kind of God we believe in. This parable of the exhausted judge presents an opportunity to ask that precise question. On what do we focus our relentlessness?
Unlike children busy or distracted parents, we’ve no need to wheedle good things from God. We need to instead to utilize the gifts God has already given us with inexhaustible determination.