I have to admit that I don’t have kids who rise to attention whenever I call their names. They don’t respond with “yes sir,” whenever I ask them to do something. In fact, I have a feeling that my kids are pretty normal kids who often complain and argue and try to get out of doing anything we ask them to do, especially their chores. My three kids are also rarely on the same page on any topic, unless that topic is their joint opposition to doing their chores. One day, my kids all ganged up on us and said, “Why do you need us to do chores all the time?” My wife and I looked at each other and almost laughed out loud. We explained to these little humans that we don’t NEED them to do chores. In fact, it would be a whole lot easier for us to just do the chores most of the time. We could get them done a lot faster, we wouldn’t have to spend time asking them to do it, and we’d get the chores done the way we want them done. That would make a lot more sense. So, the question is, why do we keep asking them to do chores? It’s because as their parents, we know that it is good for them to learn how to contribute and show a little effort.

I think that this is how God, our Father, sees us. He doesn’t NEED us to “do our chores.”He doesn’t need us to do anything. He can do whatever he wants and he doesn’t need our help to do it. However, he wants us to be involved, not because he is lonely or bossy, but because he knows that it is good for us to learn how to contribute and show a little effort.

The problem is that as humans, our natural bent is toward earning. We often fight for what we are owed. We earn money, but we also earn privileges, rights, positions, influence, respect, and on and on. The American Dream is that this country would be a place in which everyone’s effort would directly correlate with what they earn. If we’ve learned anything lately, it is that this is still just a distant dream, but we are so entrenched in the attitude of earning, that we can’t think of a way out. But deeper the problem is that this attitude and expectation of earning affects everything we do, even our faith.

One of the big temptations that we face is to confuse effort for earning. Just because God wants us to show effort in our faith, doesn’t mean that he is doing so from an attitude of earning. God’s desire for us to show some effort comes as much out of a heart of love as any good parent’s. Just like it would be terrible for any child to think that a parent’s love is dependent on the amount of effort they give, so it would be terrible to think that God’s love is dependent on the effort we give to faith. Effort is supposed to flow from love, not to earn love. So today, go and show some effort, but not from an attitude of earning, but from out of a heart of love.

Josh Rose
Teaching Pastor

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