If you’re looking for a good movie to watch, one of my favorites is “The Ultimate Gift” which is based on the book of the same name.
In the movie, a very wealthy grandfather dies and leaves his considerable estate to his grandson, Jason — except there’s a catch. Jason must complete a series of tests. If he fails at even one of the tests, he loses everything. But if he succeeds he inherits the entire estate.
The tasks he must complete teach him what is truly valuable in life or in other words the tasks give him the ultimate gift, which is not extreme wealth. As Jason goes through the tests, it’s looks like his grandfather is crazy and harsh and asking the impossible of him or giving him test for no apparent reason. But Jason learns in the end that the lesson he learns is worth the suffering he endures. He has in fact received the ultimate gift.
Our parable today, the Friend at Midnight in Luke 11, also concerns giving gifts and whether or not these gifts are good. The commentary that follows the parable is the familiar words
So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it will be opened. — Luke 11:9-10
The parable and its context imply that we can count on God to answer are prayers, But it also raises the question: does this parable promise too much? Does this parable apply to our every need, only to certain types of needs or some specific request?
I’m going to argue that the parable does not promise that God will meet our every need or give us everything we ask for, but instead that God will give us the ultimate gift: holiness.