Friday, February 12, 2010

Help Wanted

I was out washing my car one day a few years back (not a chore I enjoy) and I didn't have a lot of time so I was trying to hurry through it.  My girls were quite young at this point and they came running out to the driveway saying "Mommy!  Mommy!  Can we help!  Let us help!"  My heart sank.  I wanted to tell them "No thanks, Mommy's got this" but I could tell by their expressive faces that they were eager to help and they wanted to be a part of what I was doing.  Ergh.

These are the thoughts that were going through my mind:
  • If they help, this is going to take a lot longer. 
  • I don't really need any help.
  • I don't even want help!
  • I will have to do it all over again later because they will inevitably miss spots along the way.  
  • If they help I will have to take the time to train them, stand over them and it will be a lot messier because the hose would probably not stay on the car. 
  • I really, really, really, really wish they didn't look so cute and eager to help because it's going to make this a lot harder to say no!
Every single part of me wanted to tell them no, but instead, I said "Oh, thank you so much!  I really need your help, girls!  Grab a sponge and get over here, let me teach you how to do this!"  As the words left my lips, I found myself cringing and I felt bad about that.  Sometimes, as a mom, I need to remember that it's just not about me!  Teaching my girls to do something new and encouraging them to be a part of the chores is something I need to take the time to do if I want them to feel like they are responsible members of our family.  So, I took one for the team.  And yes, I did have to re-do it, I got super messy and it took about an hour longer than it should have.  And....I wouldn't trade the memory for the world.

You do realize that God doesn't "need" our help, don't you?  That's what I thought about as I watched them beaming with excitement as they ran the sponges across the bottom of the car (the only place they could reach).  God taught me, through this moment, that His love for me and His desire to allow me to be a part of His work is not because He "needs me" at all - it's because He loves me.  He wants me to experience the responsibilities of being a child of His.  He wants me to enjoy the benefits of my labors.  He wants to teach me how to use my gifts and watch me grow.  He delights in seeing me "help" Him, even if it makes things a little messier, takes a little more time and even if He has to go clean up after me when it's all said and done!

When Jesus rose Lazarus from the dead (John chapter 11), He proved to us that He wants us to be a part of His miracles and works.  When He got to the tomb where Lazarus was dead and buried, He did something that is subtle but so important to understand.  He asked those who were there to "roll the stone aside" and later, once He rose Lazarus from the dead, He told them "Unwrap him and let him go!" Now, we know that Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, could have easily made the stone disappear.  The burial cloths could have just fallen off or disappeared after He rose him from the dead.  But He chose to use the people who were there to be a part of the miracle!  He didn't need them, but He included them.  Imagine their excitement and joy!  To be a part of one of the greatest miracles of all time!  Not just an observer....but an active participant.

The truth is, we are not "needed" by God.  He could just speak something and it could happen.  He doesn't need anything - He is everything.  He does allow us, though, to be a part of what He is doing.  I think I got a glimpse of why He does this that day in my driveway with my little girls.  There is nothing more fulfilling than to see your children accomplish things they never thought they could do.  There is nothing more exciting than seeing them grow in confidence and to stand with them, teaching them to be productive and to have a sense of accomplishment. Seeing the looks on their faces after the car was washed and then watching them run in and tell my husband "Look what we did, Daddy!!" was one of the most glorious moments of my day.   I would've missed out on all of that if I had turned them away and done it myself.

Yes, I believe God could do it all without us.  But you know what?  He doesn't want to. 

Ephesians 2:10 For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

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