The first time I traveled with my Wonderful Wife, she prayed that we could find someone to help alongside the road. I mentally rolled my eyes and went along with her. I mean, I believe in service – and I believe many of the world’s ills could be solved if more people served one another. I also believe service is a great tool for personal character development. However, there are times I just want to be on vacation. I just didn’t want to open myself to this obligation.
We’ve been together for over 12 years now, and she still prays that prayer. Today, for the first time, I realized why I’ve been resistant to serving in this manner. It came to me after she read this passage:
“The little things you planned to do, given up gladly at My suggestion, the little services joyfully rendered. See Me in all and then it will be an easy task…” ~ God Calling
Obviously, the number one reason I’ve been resistant is because I’m selfish – that’s a given. But, why have I been so selfish in this arena? There are a couple of different reasons. First, I like to drive – it is relaxing, cathartic, and meditational. Being on vacation and driving is like a double dose of peace. Second, I’m usually tired, on a deadline, and concerned about the safety of my family. I can’t remember a time when we could spare a few hours during our travels, or that I wouldn’t put my family’s safety above the needs of some random stranger beside the road.
However, there is a third reason – and it has to do with stress and exhaustion. As I mentioned in my last post, I am driven. But since letting go of my need to be The Provider, and letting God be the One to lead, I’ve felt free and peaceful. In addition, for the first time in several years, I don’t feel sleep deprived.
“people don’t change until the pain of not changing is greater than the pain of changing.”
Letting go of my job, letting go of our house, and letting go of my need to control circumstances have created great peace. I’ve needed to do this for years, but I didn’t know how. As a friend once said, “people don’t change until the pain of not changing is greater than the pain of changing.” That’s what finally inspired me to drop out of the rat race and rely totally on God.
When we left home a few days ago, my Wonderful Wife looked at her garden and lamented not being able to harvest the fruits she has labored over. That night we stayed at a campground that has a garden just for campers to pick fruits and veggies. It was a great metaphor! We plant, another harvests – but we are still blessed with freshly grown and harvested veggies.
It is that example, and the passage from above, that suddenly resonated in my soul today. We have put our lives in God’s hands. We don’t know where we will live when they take our house. We don’t know how we will buy groceries, gasoline, or garments. But we do know that we will be taken care of. So, that being true, why wouldn’t I make myself available to whomever needs help, and however I can assist.
If we stop alongside the road to help a hapless traveler, it’s because I’m not in control of my own agenda. If I’m late to some planned event, that really isn’t of any concern of mine. To be used by God, in service of others, to show and share the abundance of His love – that is my purpose. How I/we get fed, clothed, and provided for – that is God’s concern.
This isn’t easy stuff for a man who was raised to be self-sufficient, and can do most anything – but it is the right path to pursue.
Two days ago, my BIL asked me to help him fix a bent garage door track. He asked me what tools I needed and if I needed any help. I suggested that he give me his toolbox and go socialize. If I could get out of socializing, and he could spend time with friends and family, it would be a win-win for both of us. A couple of hours later, after I got it fixed, and he got his people fix, he made an astute observation:
“We were both blessed by you being you!”
He is right! We were both blessed – in multiple ways.
Isn’t this how God’s economy is supposed to work? We all contribute, we are all provided for, and we are all blessed. Even if others don’t contribute, even if others don’t get their needs met, that doesn’t excuse me from offering my gifts, skills, talents, and time. It is my role to bless others, serve them, and share Kingdom Values – “in season, or out of season.” My life is not my own, to do with as I please – my life belongs to God, to do with what He pleases.