Are You Getting "The Full Blessing"?

Every gift of God is an invitation to claim a greater [gift]. But most men stop very quickly on this way; and thus they never reach the full blessing.
— F. Godet

Frédéric Godet's commentary on Luke is one of the oldest books in my library. An 1893 volume, the pages are brittle but the truth is stout and durable.

The quote from Godet's is a reference to the blessings the Emmaus travelers inherited because they urged Jesus to stay with them. Here is the post-resurrection story:

So they drew near to the village to which they were going. [Jesus] acted as if he were going farther, but they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent.” So he went in to stay with them. When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them. And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight. They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?” Luke 24:28-32 ESV

Earlier that day, these two men had been treated to the greatest Bible study in history -- Jesus revealing himself in all the Old Testament Scriptures (Luke 24:25-27). These early disciples were enthralled, but they wanted more. They urged Jesus to remain with them. He stayed and their hearts burned with an unmistakable sense of the presence of God. There is an important truth here:

Had they not asked Jesus to tarry they would have missed the greater blessing

We can begin to expect (not demand) the blessings of God as we grasp the nature of God. God is one who gives grace upon grace (John 1:16). Because it is his nature to give, we are foolishness not to ask. Joash discovered this the hard way:

Now when Elisha had fallen sick with the illness of which he was to die, Joash king of Israel went down to him and wept before him, crying, “My father, my father! The chariots of Israel and its horsemen!” And Elisha said to him, “Take a bow and arrows.” So he took a bow and arrows. Then he said to the king of Israel, “Draw the bow,” and he drew it. And Elisha laid his hands on the king's hands. And he said, “Open the window eastward,” and he opened it. Then Elisha said, “Shoot,” and he shot. And he said, “The Lord's arrow of victory, the arrow of victory over Syria! For you shall fight the Syrians in Aphek until you have made an end of them.”

And he said, “Take the arrows,” and he took them. And he said to the king of Israel, “Strike the ground with them.” And he struck three times and stopped. Then the man of God was angry with him and said, “You should have struck five or six times; then you would have struck down Syria until you had made an end of it, but now you will strike down Syria only three times.” 2 Kings 13:14-19

Elisha was angry with Joash -- not because he asked for too much -- but because he asked for too little.  There is a lesson here too:

We may come to God with empty hands, but we must come to him with expectant hearts.

Why? Because our God is gracious. He blessed two insignificant travelers on an insignificant road toward an insignificant village. That's grace. Then they invited him to stay longer and he blessed them more. That's grace upon grace.

When God gives you a gift by all means say, "Thank You!" But don't stop there. That is what Joash did and he missed the bigger blessing. Instead, be like the Emmaus travelers. Ask for a second helping of the gift of God.

God is good. It is his nature to be generous. So never demand, but certainly don't be afraid to ask.