My husband is out of town on a retreat and I am at home with the kids. I had to go to the grocery store today and seriously contemplated calling a babysitter. About a year ago, when I began my obsessive couponing, I quit taking my kids to the grocery store with me. It is a pretty daunting task to keep the kids calm in the basket and search for the exact matching item that is on sale and corresponds with my coupon. It may not seem like a difficult task but trust me it certainly gets my brain waves dancing! This may not be a prayer request worthy kind of issue but I am not exaggerating when I tell you that I asked at least 5 people to intercede for me this morning. As we left the house and got halfway to the store, my 5 year old informs me that he forgot his shoes (don’t’ even ask how this is possible…if you knew him you would totally get it!!!) As we drove back home I thought this was the voice of God telling me that we really didn’t need to eat this week….that is until the images of whiny hungry kids crept in to the corners of my mind. When we got back home to retrieve the shoes I had the greatest idea. I ran to the pantry and filled my pocket with some dry beans. As we drove back to the store I explained to my kids the plan. Each of the oldest 4 kids were going to each get 3 beans. Every time I had to correct their behavior they had to give me a bean. If, when we left the store, they had at least one bean left they were going across the street to McDonalds for an ice cream cone! (I NEVER said I was above bribery!!!) Talk about the magical fruit…those beans did the trick! I had to confiscate a couple but my kids were terrific. I even had a lady in the check out line compliment me on the amazing behavior of my five little ninos.
As we were licking our cones under the golden arches I started thinking about this whole reward system. My kids were incredibly responsive to the idea that if they obeyed me they would get a reward. They went the extra mile to make sure that they shined their halos as we filled our cart and were quite reluctant to give up their beans when they made bad choices. Do I do this with God? Hasn’t he promised me the greatest reward possible? I am not trying to imply that I earn God’s favor by doing a bunch of good deeds, but what I am challenging is my failure at living out his promises. He has given me an endless supply of beans. Do I aim to hold on to as many of them as possible or do I casually toss them back as I fulfill my selfish desires?
One of my favorite verses of all times is 1 John 5:3. “This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome.” I genuinely love God and I want to honor him with my life. I want to hear the words, “well done” when my time on earth comes to an end. My question is whether or not that looks like desire or burden in my life.