When You Want to Help…But You Don’t Really Want To

BeansWhenever it sounds like I’m doing something fun, my four-year-old son, Timmy, is very eager to help. One of the things that ranks right up there at the top of his “Fun Things to Do” list is cooking. So the other day, when I announced that I was going to make lunch, Timmy asked excitedly, “Can I help? Can I help?”

“Sure, Timmy,” I said as he followed me into the kitchen. I was planning on serving fajitas, so I added, “First, you can help me by putting the beans in this bowl.”

“I don’t think I can do that,” Timmy said.

“Do you want me to help you?” I asked.

“Yeah,” Timmy said, not even looking at the beans.

So I put all the beans in the bowl. Then I said, “Now you can stir them.”

“Uh…you do it,” Timmy said as he stood on the step stool at the counter, twirling back and forth and grinning.

I had thought Timmy wanted to help. And usually, he’s very eager to do anything I allow him to do in relation to cooking. But that time, he was more interested in standing on the stool next to me and playing.

Isn’t that how it often is with you and me, but in relation to God? We tell Him we want to help Him. We tell Him what a privilege it is to participate with Him in His work, and how grateful we are that He would use us. But then when He asks us to do something, we say, “Uh…no thank you.”

Just like Timmy, what we really want is not to help God, but to have fun. If we can do both at the same time, great. But if it comes down to choosing one or the other, far too often, we choose fun over helping God. Either that, or we do what He’s asked, but grudgingly.

We both know how God feels about that. In fact, Jesus told a parable about a man who asked his two sons to help him. One son said no, but then later changed his mind and helped. The other son immediately said yes, but then when it came down to it, he did nothing. Jesus made it very clear that the one who pleased his father was the one who did what his father wanted, not the one who said he would help but then couldn’t be counted on when the time came.

Which son are you? Which am I? Both of us would say we want to do God’s will. But when God asks something of us that we don’t want to do, which son will we be like? Will we choose to do as the Father asks? Or will we show Him that we didn’t really want to help him after all?

Matthew 21:28-31—“What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’ ‘I will not,’ he answered, but later he changed his mind and went. Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, ‘I will, sir,’ but he did not go. Which of the two did what his father wanted?” (NIV)

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