the giver vs. the gift

Posted: May 22, 2013 in Uncategorized

“Focusing on the gift we need rings worry, but focusing on the Giver of the gift brings peace.”

My pastor said that awhile back.  I’m pretty sure I said, “Amen” louder than was appropriate at the time (it just happens, when I get excited about truth, but we’re not really an “amen” congregation, for the most part.) 

To me, this is the difference between prayer that becomes tedious, boring, a chore, an obligation, a frustration, or a sleeper event…or prayer that is addicting, that is fun, that is encouraging, restoring, renewing, revitalizing. 

Because it is prayer and we make it all overly spiritual, it is easy not to understand the difference.  It is easy to just show up with the lists:  here’s what I need, here’s what I’m sorry for, annnnnd I’m out. 

But think about relationships between people.  If every time I come to you, all I want to do is transact business, how much fun is that?  How much will we grow in knowing each other, caring for one another?  How much will we enjoy each other’s company?  Seems to me that an approach like this would be a quick marriage killer.  It would keep friendships shallow and eventually probably cause them to drop off.  It would ensure in the parent/child relationship that deep warmth would probably not happen, eh?

Whether we say so or not, we sort God out as different from us in this way.  We forget that He loves our company, that He wants us to know Him more, that He is just WAITING for the chance to catch us really listening, really seeking, so that He can show us, tell us, grow us. 

I don’t think this is a mandate not to ask God for stuff.  He invites us to do so, after all.  But I do think that much of our frustration comes from how focused we get on our perceived *need* for what we ask for, when we could be getting to know Him better and gaining His vision (which might even lead us to lay down whatever we’re asking Him for that is so all-fired important. 

Teach me how to pray is one of my favorite prayers.  The more I grow in it, the more I find that prayer is way more about hanging out with Him than it ever was about all our forms and ideas of what it ought to be.  You know…seeking the Giver, not the gift.

As usual, it’s about freedom.  That news NEVER gets old to me!  You?


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