He Said, “Please.”

Here’s another family story. When I was six or seven years old I went to school with a pocket watch I’d been given. I don’t know if it was a birthday, Christmas, or just because you’re you and I want to give you this watch present, but I do know it went to school with me. One other thing I know is it didn’t return home. Ever. Instead, it went home with another boy. Before you get the wrong idea, let me assure you there was no coercion involved. No bullying whatsoever. Really, the circumstances of this incident provide more questions that answers. Why did it end up with another boy? Why didn’t some responsible adult intervene and make sure I got it back? Why don’t I remember getting in trouble? I remember being in quite a bit of hot water over almost burning down our barn (but that’s a story for another day). A lot of things that happen in our young lives don’t age very well. That is, if we retain anything at all, it’s only the highlights. All I remember about the watch story is when I got home from school it was discovered I no longer had my watch. When asked why, I said I’d given it to another boy (his name has been lost within the sands of history). Next question, “Why did you give it to him?” My reply? “He said, ‘please.'” That’s right, I gave it to him because he said, “please.” In my little head it was like, please pass the salt, or please scoot to the right because I can’t see the pastor. I’d been taught that please was the magic word, and I’d bought it. Entirely.

As a believer, haven’t there been times when you’ve wished you could use the magic word with God? Hey God, I did say please. Right? And didn’t you say that whatever we ask in your name, you would do it? I was listening to a Francis Chan sermon the other day. He made the point that if God said yes to everything he and his young friends asked back in the day, there would be a lot of guys married to Farrah Fawcett. There’s a country song titled, “Unanswered Prayers.” Thing is, they’re all answered. Sometimes the answer is, yes. Sometimes the answer is, no. Sometimes the answer is, not yet. Then again, sometimes the answer is, you couldn’t afford the price of her hair stylist.

Jesus said, “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples…”
John 15:5-8 ESV

I think a lot of Christians like to highlight the ask whatever you wish part and somehow pass over what happens to those who claim to follow Him (or abide) and those who don’t. To our real peril we ignore the tremendous downside to allowing ourselves to become a dried up useless branch. Ask yourself, “Is my Father glorified in this?” God knows you, He knows what you need and He also knows how you can best be used. Seeking His will is a worthy lifetime pursuit that isn’t easy, but you probably already know the best work never is, right?

But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
Matthew 6:33 ESV

Time is enough
when it’s our Father’s,
but never enough
when it’s only ours.
God best knows
the right time for planting
as He knows for harvest
and flower.

© Joel Tipple 10/26/2019

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