Pride Goeth Before the…Picnic?
I remember when I was a kid listening to my parents or an authority figure tell me what to do. All too often I would think, “I’m not doing that! He can’t tell ME what to do!” In the back of my mind I was thinking, “that’s probably the right thing to do and it’s gonna end much better if I do that,” but I didn’t care. I was going to do what I wanted to do no matter what. Ever been there?
We don’t like anyone telling us what to do. It starts when we’re young and gets infinitely worse as we get older. In the Cooper household we have a common word: teachable. We always challenge our kids and ask them to challenge us to make sure that we are staying teachable. That is, someone can come in to our lives and speak truth to us and we will not resist it as long as it backs up with God’s Word or results in something that will honor Him. But it is HARD!
There’s a peculiar passage of Scripture that is probably very familiar to many people where Jesus feeds an entire crowd with just a few loaves of bread and some fish. There’s something in this passage that I saw this week that hit me like a ton of bricks.
John 6:10-11 (NIV)
10 Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in that place, and the men sat down, about five thousand of them. 11 Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted.
So Jesus takes this little basket of food and multiplies it to feed well over 5,000 people. But He gives a command first. “Have the people sit down.” And John records that there was plenty of grass for everyone to have a nice picnic. Then Jesus took the food, prayed over it and gave it out to everyone there, right? He doesn’t. In fact, John made a point at the end of verse 11 to make sure that we understood that the food went to “those who were seated.” So they had to obey before they were blessed.
Now, here’s what I know: we want the blessings of God in every area of our lives. Our money, our jobs, our kids, our marriage, our families. But often God’s blessings only come as a result of our obedience. Every Christian experiences conviction; not every Christian responds to it.
By the way, you know there were people at the picnic that day who said, “well, I’m not sitting down. You can’t tell ME what to do!” And as the baskets went around, they passed right by those people. And to make matters worse for them, there were LEFTOVERS!
So remain teachable. Look for ways to obey God’s commands out of your love for Him. Even when it’s tough. You never know when there’s a free meal riding on it!