Post by: Garrison Polsgrove
Youth Discipleship Pastor at Shepherd Church
As I held the slowly dissolving yogurt melt in my clinched hand, my 14 month old daughter, grimaced with determination to unleash her favorite snack. She slowly bent back each finger starting with my pinky and worked her way to my thumb. Half way through she stopped and looked at me with a puzzled look that said, “Would you just give it to me already…geezz!?” I said nothing but merely raised my eyebrows and looked back at my hand as to say, “Come on…don’t quit!” She continued her efforts and upon bending back my index finger the yogurt melt was revealed! A huge smile came across her face as she went in for the kill. She quickly threw her treat in her mouth and let out a loud, “hehehebababa!” (Or something like that). As my wife observed this trail from afar, resisting her every urge to intervene, I said to her, “I make her work for her yogurt melts…she seems to enjoy them more that way.”
I see myself in my daughter all the time. Not just because she has my same curly brown hair and walks around as if she is about to run through a wall, but because I have a tendency to question whether my efforts to achieve something worthwhile are even worth it. I am quickly motivated to start something with the idea of it accomplishing something eternal, but when my efforts become disproportional to the amount of results I see, I tend to give my Father the same look Kinley gave me. My “looks” to God are not really looks as much as they are prayers that sound something like, “God are you in this?” “So God, I have done a lot to serve my next door neighbor so that he might see You in me…so when are you going to reveal yourself to him?” “God, is all the money, time, and encouraging text messages I have sent a waste??!” “God, I have been doing a lot..so when are you going to give me an awesome story like the ones I hear from Francis Chan!?”
I wish I had a powerful closing to this blog post. Like how I can l look back and see how all my efforts have paid off…but I can’t. In fact, I can honestly say some of that effort was done purely from a desire to feel like a “good” Christ-follower and not out of a heart that broke from the thought of him spending eternity in hell. My neighbor still has no desire, from what I can tell, to know Christ or even to have any sort of communication with me.
All I know is this…God has not called me to save people…but to serve people. And by doing so if God choses to reveal Himself through my efforts to accomplish something eternal..then so be it.
So here is what my prayers sound like now…at least half of the time.
“Father God, I am yours. Help me to serve others and remain faithful where you have placed me. I fully place all the responsibility of saving people on You. You are God and I am your follower. Amen.”
I will end with a scene from one of my favorite movies, “Rudy”
Father Cavanaugh: [in church] Taking your appeal to a higher authority?
Rudy: I’m desperate. If I don’t get in next semester, it’s over. Notre Dame doesn’t accept senior transfers.
Father Cavanaugh: Well, you’ve done a hell of a job kid, chasing down your dream.
Rudy: Who cares what kind of job I did if it doesn’t produce results? It doesn’t mean anything.
Father Cavanaugh: I think you’ll find that it will.
Rudy: Maybe I haven’t prayed enough.
Father Cavanaugh: I don’t think that’s the problem. Praying is something we do in our time, the answers come in God’s time.
Rudy: If I’ve done everything I possibly can, can you help me?
Father Cavanaugh: Son, in thirty-five years of religious study, I’ve come up with only two hard, incontrovertible facts; there is a God, and, I’m not Him.