Tuesday, October 4, 2011

First Time Obedience

We have really been working with the boys lately on first-time obedience.  It means being told once and no more.  Our mantra is "all the way, right away, the first time."  I'm sure the boys are sick of hearing that.  I'm sick of saying it.

Late last winter a sign-up sheet was posted at church for a mission trip to Torreon, New Mexico.  We signed up to go but then the trip got postponed and assigned a new project.  We signed up again for the second trip.  Not much prayer went into it, we just thought it sounded like a good opportunity to visit our church's mission and expose our boys to a little bit more of the world.

We set aside money from our tax return for the trip but one of our vans needed work and then the electric bill was higher than we planned for and then work was scarce and hours were short and on and on until our nice chunk of money was nearly gone.

As we sat back and looked at finances, it didn't seem like it would ever happen.  We did the math and crunched the numbers...we would never be able to afford it.  We decided to take what money was left and donate it to the expenses of the project and just stay home.  Thankfully we were told to just hang tight and the money for our family would be there.

I would be lying if I said I was doubtful.  I was highly doubtful.  I planned a garage sale but a series of events kept that from happening.  Someone gave us a very generous donation with the instructions to pay-it-forward the next year.  Could this really happen?  We stepped forward in faith and rented a car. 

I scheduled a Zumbathon to raise money for the trip.  11 people showed up.  God, are you trying to tell us not to go?  If this was meant to be wouldn't the people show up?  11 people, $15 per person....miraculously the dollar amount taken in was over $400.  Thank you God!

The next day at church we are abundantly and generously gifted more than a sufficient amount to make the trip and cover the time off of work.  Confirmation.  Confirmation that this is really His will, His desire.  He took what we could do out of our hands, for the van, for the bills, and showed us what He was able to do.  The money He gave us was more than what we had originally set aside! 

As Mr. Steady and I laid our hands on that gift and prayed, I asked God's forgiveness for never seeking His will and then questioning whether we were really supposed to go, was this really His will?  We are spreading His gospel, showing His love with a family of unbelievers, who are closely related to the tribes medicine man, a family in bondage who needs to see God's love.  He told us "Go into the all the world and preach the Good news". 

He told us once.  Why do we think He has to confirm it for us over and over and over again?

Let's take this first-time obedience and turn back to our children...can you imagine this conversation?

"Son, please wash the dishes."

"Me?  But I'm not qualified, I don't know how to do it, I don't have the tools I need."

I give him a dishcloth, a towel, and soap and lovingly show my son how to wash the dishes.

"Son, the dishes aren't washed,"

"Oh, I didn't know you wanted me to wash the dishes, I thought my brother would be better suited to do that job.  I don't feel called to do the dishes.  I feel called to only minister on the couch.  There are lots of needs right here within my reach, see I could hold the remote, and I could even watch a movie.  Movies have feelings and needs too, you know.  How come everyone wants to talk about the dishes when there are needs right here in this room?  In fact, I have needs and they aren't being met.  I really need to just fill my own love-tank up.  I need to be ministered to.  I'm not really ready yet to do the dishes, I know you trained me already but I just feel like maybe I should practice here on the couch before I actually do real dishes, you know?  Maybe I might mess them up somehow and then that would be bad.  You wouldn't want me to damage the dishes would you?"

How do you think that would go over with a child who is supposed to be practicing first-time obedience?  God is long-suffering and patient but that doesn't mean we need to be disrespectful and disobedient. 

I was waiting on a personal invitation.  A physical confirmation.  Lightning bolts and a booming voice from above would have been really great.  How would I feel if my child, after being told to do something said "Oh, I was waiting on a lightning bolt or some real, true confirmation that you actually wanted me to do the dishes." 

I wonder how many times I say "All the way, right away, the first time" and God says "Isn't that like the pot calling the kettle black?"

What are you waiting for?  Are you practicing first-time obedience?  Are you following God all the way, right away, the first time?


  1. *tears* I know just where you are coming from! What a blessing to just follow God and let Him come up with the finances. Love you and miss you :) Oh and thanks for the injera recipe!!

  2. Thanks, Jenni! This same thought has been on my heart the last few months. Thanks for confirming what God has been telling me. Can't wait to hear about your trip!

  3. Excellent! Can I repost this on my blog??

  4. Jenni! I'm so glad you were obedient! So thankful God doesn't stop when we say 'how'? I can't wait to hear all about it!

    Ivan says you need to send this to the Moniter and SILLY!

  5. LOVE your metaphor! So, so, so true!!!
    My other favorite that we humans always do is how we are REPEATEDLY, utterly shocked and amazed that God came thru for us AGAIN. It never ceases to amaze us that He is more than capable.


I love to hear your thoughts and reflections!