An enigma – that’s what it is! On one hand the Scripture tells me that the Lord will provide for me (Matt. 6:33) while on the other hand it tells me if I don’t work, I should not be allowed to eat. (2 Thess. 3:10) So why does a great big all-powerful God need us to participate in His program?
My dad answered that question when I was too young to understand. It was the late fifties and I was nearly 5 years old. My dad was clipping the lawn with an outdated reel mower on a sultry summer day. I watched as he labored to force that manually powered mechanical beast through the thick green.
He left the mower for the house to get a drink. Aha, a chance to make him proud. I reached high above my head and grabbed the worn T-handle and pushed. It wouldn’t budge – not an inch. No leverage – tiny muscles! I huffed and puffed while the lawn laughed.
That’s when a couple of massive hands came from behind me and outflanked mine on the handle. Dad nudged the mower and we moved and then picked up speed. Soon the reel was happily tossing its clippings in my little face.
Dad didn’t need my help, but I sure needed his. We finished the lawn in record time. (It took at least twice as long to get it done.) The sweet smell of the new mown grass was almost as sweet as the experience of having conquered it with my dad.
And this is where I begin to understand my Heavenly Father. My dad really didn’t need my help. In fact, I seriously complicated the task. He had to make room for me. He had to take small steps and wait for me when I needed to stop to get a fresh grip. He had to step over and around me on the corners.
But why? I brought zero to the table toward the accomplishment of that task and I really wasn’t old enough to treat it as a training experience. So why did dad allow me or even want me to participate?
The relationship – just the relationship! It was an opportunity for him to be with me and me with him – to share the experience together.
I am fairly sure that our Heavenly Father treats His ponderous work in the same way. Though He does not need us, He enjoys us and the responsibilities He gives us are designed to draw us near.
The Lord is my provider. He can take care of me whether I work another day or not. But as I work to put bread on the table, I am frequently reminded of how much I need Him. I depend on Him for the opportunity to work and the wisdom, strength and health needed to get the job done. Such things fuel my prayers. He also allows me to enjoy what He enjoys when a task is completed. Working with Him draws me nearer to Him and He loves it when that happens.
And yes, it certainly is more trouble and takes Him longer to accomplish what He could and would do on His own, but He loves us and wants to enjoy the experience with us.
Thank you Father for making room for me at the T-handle of life, but please, never let me forget that it is only through and because of You that anything is ever really accomplished.
Listen to the song below and remember how wonderful He really is!
Oh God Our Help in Ages past. Vocals: Jim Johnson