I will never forget the times when our Golden Retriever dog was 100% pure puppy. Roman (Noodle) is now 2 years old and does much better at behaving himself. We still have a ways to go, but trust me, he has come a long way! When he was a puppy he would have a lot of potty accidents in the house, growl at me when I tried petting him as he ate, and he would chew on pretty much everything. He put a bald spot in our bedroom carpet by chewing on it, and damaged our brand new outdoor area rug, along with the $300 patio furniture that my parents bought my wife and I once we finished building our back patio. (In case you’re reading this mom and dad, I was able to save them with a little bit of “Southern Engineering.”)
I still remember the time when I gave Roman some of my old flip flops to chew on. He literally ate them. Pooped them out. And….. ate them again. I know you’re grossed out beyond all comprehension right now so I’ll move on with today’s Life Lesson.
On nice days, I would leave Roman in the backyard while I was at work. He would be so excited when I would come home. He would stare intensely through the back door waiting for me to let him in. Each time I would arrive at the back door to open it for him, he would run off into the backyard to grab something that he thought was amazing, and something he thought he just had to share with me. All the while I would stand there shouting to him as I clapped my hands or patted my knees, “Roman! Come on buddy! Come on inside!” He would then wag his tail so hard that his whole butt shook from side to side as he pranced (yes pranced) to the back door. It never failed, Roman would always greet me with a gift.
These gifts were always different. One time he brought to me pieces of the chewed up flip flop that I gave him (but we’re passed that now). Other times he would bring me a stick, a rock, a nasty chew toy, his dog bowl, a tree branch, or a leaf. There was even one time when he presented to me a dead bird and dead baby possum. Ewe. Just Ewe.
Do you think I let him in the house carrying his “gifts?” Oh no! And even if I had, my wife would have killed me therefore I would not be writing this blog to you.
As you can imagine, my response was along the lines of, “Roman, thats nasty! Put that down so you can come inside! All I want is you buddy! I don’t want your gifts!”
It was in that moment that I learned a Life Lesson.
Many times we act like Roman did all those times, and we feel as though we have to bring God a “gift” of some kind when we come to His house, the church. Maybe our mind thinks the same way Roman’s once did. “I have to bring you a gift in order for you to let me inside.”
Our gifts can be different too. For some, the gift you feel like you must bring to God is your money. For others, its bringing your bible to church. Or for others, it’s taking your family to church. And for some, your gift may be a smile. You may think that in order to go to church you have to “fake it till you make it” and put a smile on your face even when your whole world is crashing all around you. After all, isn’t that what church people do? Don’t they always smile and pretend life is always good even when it’s not? Don’t they bring their families and bibles with them each and every week? Don’t they regularly give money?
We can get so caught up and focused on bringing our “gifts” we become blind to the fact that God is standing at the door of His house, and even at the door of our hearts with open arms shouting, “I don’t want/need your gifts. All I need is you. I just want to spend time with you right now. Come inside. Be with Me.”
Even though as a Christian you should be a generous giver with your money and you should be faithful in your tithes, you should be willing to go to church — with or without your family. It is a good idea to take your bible with you to church too. Its what is preached and taught from and it is the source and fuel of your relationship with the Father. (Thank God for the Bible App!) And yes, as a Christian, you should smile. But you should do that even if you’re not a Christian because smiling is the best and least expensive way to improve your looks. However, you should learn to be transparent and open up to someone whom you trust and can help you.
I say all that to say this: All God wants — is us! He wants all of us! He’s not as concerned about the “gifts” we bring to Him as we tend to think at times.
Yes, bring your gifts unto the Father. But know that you do not have to “buy” your way into His presence. All He wants—- is you. He is standing, waiting, for you with arms outstretched. He’s calling your name today. He’s inviting you to spend time with Him in His presence. And when you do —- you are transformed.
1 Corinthians 16:23 MSG, “Our Master Jesus has His arms wide open for you.”
(Matthew 22:37-38, 2 Corinthians 3:18, Matthew 17:1-13)
As long as Roman held on to his nasty things, I would not let him inside the house. It took him a few moments to realize that he had to let go of the things he thought had great value in order to come inside with me.
Today, maybe you’re finding yourself holding on tightly to a few things in your life that may be keeping you from an intimate relationship with the Father. No, God has not left you or rejected you. But God is a holy, jealous God and He wants all of you, or none of you. What are the things that you need to let go of and surrender over to Him?
Matthew 22:37-38, “Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.”
(Matthew 11:28-30, Deuteronomy 31:6, Exodus 34:14)
Roman (Noodle) Meek