Obedience

Yesterday, I was trying to update my Facebook status but something kept stopping me. There wasn’t a technical error, Facebook was working just fine. Just before I would click update I heard, “why are you doing this?” in the back of my mind.

A friend was on Facebook chat so I thought I would get their opinion about it. “Pray about it,” she said. Well, duh. I saw that coming! I suddenly found myself wrestling with the question of  whether I was bragging about me or bragging about God when I posted certain things for the world to see.

Was this a prompting of the Holy Spirit to weed out a sin in my life or was this simply an insecurity I had? My friend suggested a third option. Maybe God just wanted me to be obedient.

I decided to give it until morning and after praying again about it, I got the ‘all clear.’ So, I carefully crafted my post again, wording it the best I could to not seem like I was bragging and I posted it.

I’m not sure why God told me to wait but nonetheless I felt certain that I needed to wait.

Later that day we had some guys from a tree removal company in our neighborhood clearing branches from the power lines. They spent the majority of the day in my back yard, wrestling away the maple tree branches from the lines.

“Take them a snack,” I heard in the back of my mind. It was like that whisper Kevin Costner heard in Field of Dreams, only much more of an internal persuasion than an audible voice. If I start hearing voices, I will let you all know.

Like Jonah, I started to think, “I don’t really have to do that,” but then I looked down at at my lap only to realize  the book I was reading. It’s called Not a Fan: Becoming a Completely Committed Follower of Jesus. I was without an excuse, it was time to be obedient.

I went into the kitchen and in the back of my mind the thoughts started, “you’re going to look stupid,” “what are you going to say?” Honestly, I was nervous. My heart rate increased and I got butterflies in my stomach.

I’m fine with treating and serving people I know. I don’t mind taking friends or even acquaintances out for coffee but there is always a connection or commonality among us. These guys were cutting down trees in my back yard, not a whole lot of connection there.

I went outside, a plate snacks in hand and quickly set it down on a table for them. They were working on a tree about 50 feet away, which resulted in one of the most awkward conversations I’ve ever had. I was hoping to go up to one of the guys and greet myself and shake their hand, but when 4 guys are staring up at a tree trying to make sure their 5th guy isn’t going to lose his footing or have a branch fall on his head, you tend to stay back a little.

Again, I don’t know why God wanted me to do this. I didn’t have any meaningful conversation with any of them, I didn’t leave a Bible tract on the table or tell them about Jesus.

Who knows? Maybe they had gotten a hard time from some of our neighbors who are less than thrilled to have their trees trimmed and my snack was a welcomed courtesy or maybe one of them was thinking in the back of their head, ‘man I would really like some lemonade.’ Who knows?

In Numbers chapter 20, Moses is traveling (aka wandering aimlessly) with the Israelites through the desert. They are unable to find a source of water so Moses and Aaron go before the Lord asking Him what to do. God tells Moses to speak to a rock and that water will flow forth from it.

The problem comes when instead of speaking to the rock, Moses takes his staff and hits the rock. Water still comes out but here is what we read next in verse 12;

‘But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them.”‘

So what’s the big deal? Speaking to the rock, hitting the rock, what does it matter? Moses’ reasons for striking the rock were even logical. In Exodus 17, we see another incident where Moses is commanded to strike a rock and to get water to come out of it. In that case he struck it once, so perhaps he thought this was the second time he better strike it twice.

But again, why does it matter?

The answer is simple.

God told Moses to do one not the other.

We are never going to understand why God asks us to do certain things, but we are called to trust Him and to honor Him with our obedience.

It doesn’t matter whether or not we understand why God asks us to do something, it just matters that we do it.

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