Saturday, June 04, 2005


It's Saturday morning, and the aroma of the new coffee (Starbucks' Fortymile Blend - mmm) is working it's way through the house. I got up about 6:15am, having about an hour and a half before the kids woke up, and another hour to myself while they started playing games upstairs instead of coming down. I appreciated the time with my quiet XM before they came down to eat cereal and watch Looney Tunes - nothing against Bugs and Daffy, but the quiet and peace was very nice.

"It is more blessed to give than to receive" - and yet, we are more apt to participate in this Christian life if we know there is some return on our "investment". If a chore is easy, we might participate; if it's made to bring some desireable end, we might help out. If all of the former barriers are removed and the time is adjusted for convenience, and if in the process you find that you actually enjoy the task, then we consider it a joy to continue on. We get feisty when the work gets hard, though; we find excuses to stay home when we feel we've done "enough", or when the return-on-investment isn't meeting our core expectations.

Maybe it's more than the linearity described in Larry Crabb's The Pressure's Off, where we live life doing A in order the B will come. Maybe it's more rebellious than that, telling God that, "this is the way I'll serve You and others, under these circumstances, for this good feeling, and please don't ask anything else of me while so engaged. And oh yeah, if I feel like it's not panning out, I'll let you know when I feel like I've done my fair share. Please don't change the parameters, because I might actually like it, and changing it will break the contract." I find that I start to idolize and idealize the ministry over the Lord I'm serving, and I find that I am quick to judge His motivations or His seeming lack of enabling grace when something goes contrary to the way I thought was proper.

Why do we expect positive return? Why do we expect to get paid for our efforts? And most importantly, who do we think we are in negotiating the exchange? Basically, why do we help others best when we think we're gaining something in return?


Blogger Margaret Feinberg said...

I think you're right.. so often it's easy to fall into the trap of negotiating faith... and asking the "what's in it for me?" question.

7/6/05 5:59 PM  

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