A friend of mine replies to every favor I ever ask with the same words.
“You’ve got it!”
I’ve tried that response. It sticks somewhere in my throat. Most days, the best I can muster is, “I’ll do my best.” In all honesty, that’s a stretch. Here’s how I usually respond.
“What is it?”
I want to know in advance what I’m going to be asked to do. It seems fair enough.
Here’s what I’ve come to realize about my friend. She trusts me not to ask her to do anything bad. Because she is totally unselfish, the only reason she would refuse my request would be if it were immoral or illegal. Discard those disqualifiers and she is willing to do anything for me.
Unless someone has responded to you in the same way, you can’t truly understand how that makes you feel.
My seemingly committed response of “I’ll do my best” still leaves me with an out. It has a nice ring to it. It gives the appearance of willingness to give my all unless I’m stopped by something beyond my control. In reality, I’m leaving selfish wiggle room. If the request is something that will be inconvenient or interfere with my schedule, I still have my loophole. I still have an excuse to get me out of what appeared to be my unwavering commitment.
But, not my friend. She puts aside all selfishness and commits right up front to giving me her time and her resources. Before she ever knows what I’m going to ask her she tells me, “You’ve got it!”
This morning as I considered the differences between my friend and me, a realization came to light. An ill feeling began to grow in the pit of my stomach with that realization. The realization that I don’t always trust others not to take advantage of me. The feeling grew more when I realized I’m more concerned about my convenience and my time than about other’s needs. The feeling was nearly crippling as my realization became full blown. My lack of trust and my selfishness reaches far beyond my friends.
I respond the same way to God.
Now, I know God doesn’t need to ask me for favors. I don’t want to get all tied up in legalistic viewpoints. But, I do know that God asks us to do things. Not because He needs a favor, but because He wants to involve us. Because He wants relationship and fellowship. And, I know that on several occasions God has asked me this one question…
“Will you do something for Me?”
And most often my reply has been…
“What is it?”
Which actually means, “Well, it depends, God. I’ll give it some consideration if it won’t be too hard. I’ll think about it as long as it won’t get in the way of the things I was planning on doing. I’ll toy with the idea if I don’t think it will make me look too foolish. So throw it out there for me, God, and let me see what this idea of Yours looks like. Give me Your best sales pitch and I’ll see if Your plan is worth my time.” Yes, that’s what I’m really saying when I ask God, “What is it?”
How about when I go a step further with my reply to God, and I tell Him…
“I’ll do my best.”
Another translation of that phrase may be something like this: “I’ll give it a shot, God. But if it starts to get too hard I’ll just have to bow out.” Or maybe, “Sure, God. I’ll squeeze this into my schedule and do everything I can to make it fit. But You know I’m really obligated to my job/this project/my child’s ball team/my volunteer work (you fill in the blank), so I may not be able to get to it right now.”
But what about answering God with,
“You’ve got it!”
Before He ever tells me what He’s going to ask me to do, what if I tell Him, “Yes, Lord! Whatever it is, count me in! You want me involved with You? You’ve got it!” Here’s what that looks like.
It looks like dropping our nets in the middle of doing the work we believe will provide our livelihood. (Matthew 4:18-20)
It looks like giving God our meager provisions when thousands are hungry. (Matthew 1:16-21)
It looks like bringing Him our filthy jars of stale cleaning water when all we can understand is there is a need for good wine. (John 2:1-10)
Will it make sense at the time? Probably not. Will it be worth our while? Well, ask yourself this: Is a miracle worth your while? Each response of “You’ve got it!” was followed by one or more miracles.
So, what keeps me from responding to God every single time with “You’ve got it!”? The same things that keep me from replying that way to people.
First of all, I don’t always trust God.
I’m risking being thought of poorly for this admission. Believe me, it’s no easier to admit in print than it was to admit to myself when I first made that disgusting realization. There are some things I just didn’t trust God to take care of the way I thought they needed to be addressed. My head knows that God always does what’s best. I just couldn’t get that head knowledge to transition its way into my heart. Sometimes I still can’t. Otherwise, I’d be more inclined to those “You’ve got it!” replies.
Secondly, I’m just plain selfish with my time.
The busier life gets, the less time we seem to have for ourselves. So, please God, don’t ask me to do something that might take up some of that time I was planning on using for something fun. Don’t get me wrong, God wants us to have a certain amount of leisure time. He wants us to enjoy life. But, how much is enough? Or, how much of my time do I spend doing things God has no intention of my doing? (That’s a blog post all on it’s own – and I’m working on that one!)
As the tables continue to turn on me, I have to come face-to-face with the way God responds to my requests.
God never responds out of a lack of trust.
How could He? Not trusting someone is a result of not knowing how they will react or respond. God knows everything about me. He knows the future. With no unknowns, the trust factor has to be taken out of the equation.
God never responds out of selfishness.
Again, it’s an impossibility. If God had bones, there wouldn’t be a selfish one in His body. God is love. Selfishness and love contradict each other, and God does not contradict Himself. He cannot.
Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. (1 John 4:8)
God’s response to us when we ask for something is always the same. If it is in His will (if it’s not for something He knows will be harmful or detrimental to us in some way, or to someone else) God responds to us with “You’ve got it!”
This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us – whatever we ask – we know that we have what we asked of Him. (1 John 5:14-15)
Let that soak in for a minute. How does that make you feel? Now, let’s take that thought and put it in an even greater perspective when we consider it in concert with other promises from God.
Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him! (Matthew 7:9-11)
Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, (Ephesians 3:20)
Whatever we ask, if it’s in God’s will. Whatever good things that are far better than anything we could receive from anyone on earth. More than anything we could possibly imagine or dream of asking for. That’s how God responds to our requests. Those are the “favors” He does for us.
If I’m asked for a favor by my friend who always says, “You’ve got it!”, I’m completely inclined to reply to her in the same way. Can I reply to God with the same reply He gives me? I pray that I can.
I’ve always got time for a miracle.