I recently spent a couple days trying to get the best deal on a cell phone package for my family. It was an exhausting three days searching the internet and driving from cell store to cell store talking to sales people. Having an acquaintance who owns a cell store proved fruitful in us getting a pretty good deal that perfectly matched our needs and the wants of my children.
After the transaction, it was time to mow the lawn. Unfortunately, I had fertilized the week before. That accompanied with a barrage of rain had produced a virtual jungle that resembled the deep rough at Yellowstone Country Club. There was no putting off the task any more. I didn’t really need help but thought new cell phones might just be the catalyst to soften some hardened hearts bent against coming within 20 feet of anything resembling lawn equipment. So, I shot the question into the open air, “you guys want to help?” I wasn’t asking for a limb or even an appendage. I was asking for 45 minutes on a cool spring day behind the roar of a Toro or the whirl of a Snapper. The look on their faces told me everything. Actually, I knew the answer to the question before even posing it. Their reluctant answer was, “if you want help, dad”.
Not exactly the answer I had hoped for. After all they were holding infant cell phones less than an hour old and I fantasized that mowing the lawn, just once without disagreement, would be better than any “thank you” I had received. “If you want help, dad”? What I wanted was for them to “want to” help. It’s the hope of any parent, I think.
Moments later, as I was mowing the lawn, the thought struck me that we treat our Heavenly Father the same way. Matthew 7 reminds us that God desires to give good gifts to His children. We receive these gifts daily; expectantly and taken for granted. It’s a shame. God, the Giver of gifts, doesn’t expect anything in return. He just enjoys giving. But shouldn’t our response be to give back? If for nothing else out of gratitude just because “we” want to?
Matthew 25 tells us how to give back – by serving the ‘least of these’ we are actually serving Him. Read the text for yourself:
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’
Next time you feel prompted to do something for God, do it – because you want to!