Again, I have been entrusted with my nephew for a week. It is so interesting to go from no child to a thirteen year old. From the time he was little, I have felt that God could speak to me through his little words.
I just looked through an old journal this morning to find one such moment. Eight years ago, God changed my entire life. I was living in another state with a good job, and lots of prospects. One day, I hit bottom and everything changed.
John Stott writes in Basic Christianity, that intellectual prejudice and moral self-will are the two greatest hindrances to genuinely seeking God. Amen to that. Some people are even intellectually open enough to accept truth, but they do not have the self-will to implement moral change. I did not want moral change, until this one day.
I quit my job, broke my engagement, bought a house in another state and started packing boxes. That was it. I knew that God was promising me that if I had the courage to obey Him, He had plans for me. “The scripture says, ‘No one who believes in him will be put to shame’” (Romans 10:11, NRSV). So, I went.
Right before I moved, I was feeling a little down so I called my sister. It was really to talk to my nephew. What cuter thing can you hear than the voice of a five year old? So, I told him that I was feeling a little lonely. He said, “Don’t be lonely because I will ask God to protect you”. He pulled the phone away from his ear and prayed, right there while I listened.
Of course, I was crying by now. He told me that God will be there, “so fast”. I asked him if God could come that fast, and he said, “God is fast, like Ravey (his favorite dog)”.
At this point my dog, Maggie, had to excuse herself outside. Ben said, “Maggie wants to go outside to make the snakes go somewhere else”. I said, “Oh, is she protecting me?” He said, “God is protecting you”.
At a time in my life when I was so confused, hurt, and hopeful, God sent my nephew’s little voice to me. God was there fast, and I was, indeed, being protected.
So this morning, when I walked into the hall and said, “I haven’t blogged, yet”, he told me what to write about…character; specifically, the self-destruction involved in greed.
I am trying to interpret his notes as best I can.
My dogs were stealing food from each other this morning which left one completely without breakfast. The one is Tess, the doggie in the picture. This happens often, actually. She is just not much of an eater, and even less of a defender. She takes after Dwight on the eating.
The others look at her and see that she has a bowl full of food and they do not. Then they wait for me to leave and one of them eats it all, while she stands staring at them. Pitiful sight, I know.
This exercise drives me bananas. In I go, yelling the name of one dog, or the other. I ask Tess why she is not eating her food, and why she is letting the others eat it. We repeat this every couple of days, just to keep me listening astutely to the pattern of jingling dog tags against the food bowls.
It seems fun until I charge in, I am sure. When one is greedy, everyone is left with nothing.
We can all learn from being greedy. We are the ones that suffer in the end. I can’t really say that Maggie was suffering much as she had her mid-morning snack, but…
I was greedy with my life. I felt that I had to protect myself from God’s change, and as a result everyone lost. I lost that time of relationship with God, and He lost because of my hardness.
The best way to explain it was self-hoarding. I was keeping my abandonment for the cause of my choosing, instead of the safest place in the world. I withheld for an invisible payoff. I had no idea how close I came to complete self-destruction.
I was praying about going into one more day with my nephew, this morning. The beauty about living in Jesus is the safety of giving it all away. I can recklessly show him love because my Father does it with me.
There will be no self-hoarding, and no self-protection, today. He will know the love of the Father through me. This is going to be a great day!
Is there someone in your life that needs to be loved recklessly today? Are you willing to do it?
Father, thank you for calling us out of our selfish state to give us the hope of eternal glory. Let us love like you have shown us. Put people on our heart who need us today.