Jesus in a teaching moment with his disciples encouraged them to seek God, ask whatever is on their hearts, and while they are pursuing these things trust that our Father in heaven is ready and desires to bless. The example of how a parent would always provide for the basic needs of their children comes with a bit of a sting at the end, because Jesus says “if you then who are evil know how to give good gifts….”
Hold the phone Jesus. I am evil?
Consider that when we read or hear this part we miss the point of the of the example altogether. What Jesus is saying is that you and I are imperfect, can not live up to our own standards, let alone our children’s standards for us. Now place us next to the one who is the presence of purity and perfection. When you are in the presence of perfection there is no room for classifying another object as slighty imperfect, or just this side of perfect, or almost there due to the fact that they all fail.
So evil, in this sense is highlighting that we fail. however, even that is not the point of the lesson from Jesus.
What Jesus wants us and his disciples to understand is that our Father in heaven will provide for us both when we ask and when we do not ask for assistance. Our Father in heaven knows what is best for carrying out his will, for bringing about the completion of the Kingdom of heaven on this world. Our Fathers gifts may be reconciliation, healing, forgiveness, discipline, or a whole host of things that loving God would give to guide us through this life. All these things, even the discipline, can and should be received with humility and gratitude.
I am not saying it is easy. In fact being a follower of Jesus is anything, but easy. Not in the contrived “they are out to get me” way of thinking that is so present in our culture. What I mean by hard as in loving your enemy, not showing favoritism to the wealthy and powerful, having a meal with the outcast, showing as much concern for the well-being of your neighbor as you show yourself kind of hard.
My hope in all of this is that I have a Lord and brother in Jesus who promised never to leave us nor forsake us.