When I was younger, every summer brought the same story as the last. The day school let out, my brothers and sister and I would begin pining away for what every child covets at one time or another – a swimming pool.
We’d drop hints at first, exaggerating extreme temperature increases and fabricated cases of heat exhaustion. When that didn’t work, we’d attempt logic and appeal to our parents’ sense of reasoning. And finally, when all of that failed, we’d resort to good old-fashioned whining and complaining.
The strange thing was that no matter our style of appeal, the answer was always the same. The even stranger thing was that the answer was never no. In fact, every time the subject came up, my father would say, “Sure! You kids can have a pool any time you want… just dig the hole.”
“Dig the what?” We wanted a pool, not an experience in manual labor. To be quite honest, we would have preferred it if he just would have told us no in the first place. A “No” was certainly better than a conditional “Yes.” At least with a no, we could have blamed him for our lack of summer fun. Instead, we had to live with the reality that we didn’t have a pool, and it was pretty much our own fault.
I don’t know what my father would have done if the five of us had actually gotten out there – shovels in hand – and started digging. My guess is that he would have been pretty surprised. But when it came right down to it, he knew us well enough to know that we weren’t interested in the process of working for what we wanted; we were just interested in the end result. Dig the hole? Probably not.
How many times have we approached God in the same way a child approaches her father? We pray for Him to bless us. We pray to be used in great and mighty ways. Yet, when He asks us to work for what we want, even just a little, we throw our hands up in the air and give up. When it comes right down to it, we don’t want to work for our blessings; we just want to be blessed.
“We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10 NIV).
The Bible is very clear that the Christian life is not a life of lucrative living and bottomless blessings. We are called to be workers – not to attain our salvation but as a result of our salvation.
God wants to bless us. He wants us to have that swimming pool, so to speak. But He also knows that often the greatest blessings are not in the end result, but in the progress of attaining the end result. So when you pray for God to bless you, don’t be surprised if He immediately calls you into action. For the real blessing lies not in the swimming pool, but in digging the hole.
Q: How is God calling you to action today?