A week or so ago my wife and my son and I went to Athens to visit our twin daughters at the University of Georgia. I’m sure every mother or father understands the build-up of excitement to see your college freshman child when you haven’t seen him or her in a few weeks. They are now in a new world, learning, growing, exploring and experiencing new things. As we drove up, pride for both of my daughters welled up inside me on a scale I don’t get that often. My wife and I both were really looking forward to seeing them for an afternoon visit. Plus, it was a beautiful fall-like day. The plan was to see their newly decorated dorm rooms, tour the campus, go to Wal-Mart to buy a bunch of stuff for them, take it to their rooms and then eat dinner somewhere.
We saw their room, skipped the tour of campus and headed to right to Wal-Mart.
I had full intentions of buying them basically anything they wanted, anything. I had no budget, no limit in mind…they could get anything they wanted. I felt an overwhelming desire to lavish them with basically whatever they wanted. I know it’s hard to lavish it on at Wal-Mart, but you know what I’m saying…my heart was to please them and give to them – that’s all. I was ready to spoil them.
At Wal-Mart, one daughter needed more things than the other…more toiletries, more towels, more socks, more snacks…that kind of thing. So, we piled it on. The daughter that needed the extra things is our free and easy child. She walks from isle to isle giggling and looking at things, casually picking things up and asking, “Mom, can I get one of these too?”
Our other daughter was visibly agitated and wanted to “speed things up” so we could go downtown and shop for her. Several times she basically sneered at her sister’s growing pile of purchases saying “Ok, let’s go, I want to get some clothes and you can’t get any since you got all this stuff at Wal-Mart”.
My heart almost broke in two. I told her, “Honey, I will get you whatever you want…here at Wal-Mart or downtown”. Just relax and enjoy the time we have here.” She rolled her eyes, pouted and stormed off. She wanted everything to be even between her and her sister…$75 here…$75 there…$25 here and $25 there. Socks here, socks there. I just wanted whatever they wanted. I wasn’t counting…my budget was unlimited. Her negative reaction to my lavish spending on her sister really let the air out of my balloon. It made me sad. She put a damper on an otherwise magical time together. (You know love is a powerful thing when you can have a magical time in Wal-Mart).
Later, we did go downtown and my other daughter did get a nice jacket, which she liked.
Later on it hit me…hard.
God’s love is a lot like my fatherly motives in Wal-Mart. He wants so many good and wonderful things for me. He wants to lavish us with good things. His budget is unlimited.
“I want to LAVISH GOOD things on you Bill…I LOVE YOU…I miss you…so, glad to see you Bill…you look great!…I’m proud of you Bill…I love you son”….I was reminded deep inside somewhere that God is terribly and painfully desiring to give to me and give and give and give and give more and more.”
I, on the other hand, like my daughter, sometimes look around at what others have and want their new car or their popularity, or their laughter, their sense of purpose, their boldness, their golf game, their business or their whatever. Meanwhile I think God sits in heaven just dying to yell out to me,
“Hey Bill…would you please just come and hang out with me…I’ll give you all you need and most of what you want….and what I want to give you is 1000% better than what you want….just trust me and relax in me…relax, slow down, relax, slow down, be quiet, be still. Chill out and have faith in me. I am in completely in charge of making everything all work out…all you have to do is come near to me, have fun, hold my hand, listen and obey. I have your best interests in mind. Be like that kid in Wal-Mart or at the Mall – come to me and I’ll lavish unbelievable things on you.”
Matthew 7: 7-12
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. “Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.