Matthew 15:27 She said, "Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters' table."
There is an attitude that pervades our culture, one that might be summarized as, I deserve better, and is often preceded by the thought, its not fair. Where does it come from, this thought that we deserve anything, just because we are - and how have we come to believe that, for whatever reason God owes us anything? Its funny, because even though its not in the Bible, nor is it in the constitution, nor the bill of rights, many believe that not only is there a right to complain, but a duty to complain well and often - so much so, that we are often more practiced at complaining than we are at praise or compliment. The more you complain, the less you find to be thankful for, until it reaches the point that you begin to say to yourself, I don't see any need to go to church, God has really done nothing for me this week, so that I should stop and thank him, and he certainly didn't give me what I wanted.
You see, one of the primary reasons why we go to church is to thank God for all that he does for us. So in our worship, we sing his praises and tell his wonderful deeds, and give him thanks for all that he has done for us. To help us to see what he has done for us, we begin our worship, before the opening hymn, by examining ourselves and our lives - examining ourselves in the light of the 10 commandments. Every time we so examine ourselves we see our sins, and we see what our sins deserve - God's wrath, our death, and eternal punishment - we see that we are poor miserable sinners, and because of our sins we deserve nothing from God. We see that all of our "good works" are flawed, and are nothing more than things we had already owed to God for all that he has already done for us. Each week, as we examine ourselves, and consider all that God has done for us, we set aside a portion of these blessings to return to God as a thank offering, and to advance the good news of salvation throughout the world. If we really do this from our heart, we would find that the church would never lack for anything, and that we would be able to do great things for the mission of bringing the gospel to all people.
Our text today is challenging, for the words are harsh, and remind us that we are poor miserable sinners, that deserve nothing from God. If someone were to say to us, It is not right to take the children's food and throw it to the dogs - we would be insulted, we would be liable to say, I deserve better than this; and we might even be so offended that we would never return. That is how the sin of pride can separate us from the love of God which is ours in Christ Jesus.
But if we have examined ourselves, seen our sins, and know what our sins deserve - if we truly confess that we are indeed poor miserable sinners, and mean it - we do not come before God asking for what we deserve, but we come before God pleading for mercy, we know we don't deserve anything - but in humility we beg for the crumbs that fall from the master's table. We know that even though we don't deserve it, yet we have faith that God will have mercy on us, and that even the crumbs will be sufficient.
And yet there is so much more than just crumbs - life, hope and salvation come to us poor miserable sinners by the grace of God in Jesus Christ.