Sometimes I think we humans give ourselves far too much credit.
We think the world will collapse without us. We are irreplaceable. The universe begins with our birth and ends with our death. We have a mountain of tasks that depends on our follow through. Our own self-importance is staggering…or it can be, if we actually believe all this to be the truth.
I used to think this kind of mentality was only true of the ‘get-it-done’ folks. You know. The annoyingly obnoxious movers and shakers who could run a company, juggle a family, balance that against some enviable ministry position at church all while maintaining a size two figure. But no, I’ve learned the propensity to think I’m more important than I am is also found in my pesky moments of indecisiveness.
I usually don’t rush into making a decision because I’m terrified I’ll make one shaky move outside of God’s will. One tiptoe outside the invisible line in the sand will spiral me into a life a doom. I’ll never forget what a friend told me when I shared my angst with him one day. He grinned. “So you think you’ll do something, especially in ignorance, that God is unable to fix? Sorry, kid. You’re not that powerful.”
Why do I struggle so much with the insatiable need to do? To fix? To accomplish? And I know I’m not the only one. Our world is filled with people who earn degree after degree yet never get any wiser. Who climb the ladder of success, yet find no satisfaction for the gaping hole inside. Even more dangerous, many Christians mask the god of busyness in the cloak of ‘doing the Lord’s work’ or just going about ‘their calling’, never realizing they are trying to fill a broken cistern, using the name of God as a cover…a way to fill their own need for self-importance. I know this sounds harsh, but it’s true. I’ve tried it.
I’m a checklist maker. I enjoy the rush of dopamine that fills my brain every time I scratch another one of those silly black marks off my to-do list. It’s accomplishment. A goal achieved. A sign I’m doing something.
Here’s the problem. As Christians too many of us have viewed our relationship with God as a checklist. We take time to pray because we’re supposed to. We read the Bible because we’re supposed to. We ask God to use us to do great things for Him because it’s on our spiritual check list. “Change the world.” Check.
Please don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying we’re supposed to be lazy, apathetic Christians. Far from it. Jesus said blessed is the one who, when He returns, it found doing. We need be busy about our Father’s business. But I’m afraid for too many of us, business has replaced relationship with our Father as priority number one. What we do for God is an overflow of our relationship with Him, not the other way around.
Simply put, God isn’t nearly concerned with what we can do for Him as He is with us knowing Him.
Let me see if I can word it another way.
Pretend you purchase a football for your six-year old son. You can’t wait to surprise him with it. You imagine the delight on his face when he holds it in his arms. You bring it home and hold it behind your back, waiting for just the right moment to pull out the surprise, smiling as his big eyes stare up at you in question.
“Hey, buddy. I got you something today.”
His eyes light up. “You did? What is it? Can I have it?”
You laugh and pull it from behind your back. “Here you go.”
Two big dimples pop out in his cheeks as he grins and clutches the new treasure. “A football! I can’t wait to play with it!”
You kneel in front of him, your face serious. “This football is important, son.” You stare hard into his face. “I got you this football so you’ll practice. You need to practice all the time so you can play high school ball and get a scholarship to a good college. I mean, your whole future is riding on this. Then I expect you to eventually be drafted into the NFL and be a starring quarterback and win Superbowl championships and have a slew of endorsements. You got that, buddy?”
The scenario, at this point, is laughable. Nobody in their right mind buys a football for their six-year son with the sole purpose of trying to mold them into a Superbowl champion that day. No. You would buy your son a football because you want to play with him. You want to spend time with him. It’s about laughing together, playing together. Being in the moment. Making memories.
And that’s what God wants with you too.
He doesn’t want your checklist of “See what I did today?” He doesn’t need you to accomplish anything for Him. He’s got it covered. When the time is right, He allows us to partner with Him so we can see the jaw-dropping things He can do…not because He needs us, but because it teaches us how awesome He is. It doesn’t build His faith in us, but our faith in Him.
God is inviting you to know Him as a good, perfect Father. For some of you, He might be the only good Father you’ve ever known. Put down the checklists. Set aside the need to do in order to fill your own worth inside. He died for you and has already declared you were worth every moment of agony. He wants you to know Him. He has so much to share, so much love to lavish on you.
Sweet time together. Like a father and son tossing around a football.