Job. Not the occupation you either like or dislike. Not the thing you go to certain days between Sunday and Saturday. The person. A man that was put through the ultimate test. Here’s the FoodSaver Plus version: Read Job 1-2. He didn’t worship God out of what he could get out of the relationship with Him. He worshipped Him because he loved the character of God, how God never failed him and how God provided everything for him. So many of us—I’m talking mostly about Americans, because I am one, but this is not limited to only Americans—love all the things God does for us. So much so that it seems to me that we often like those things he does for us more than we love God himself.
** pause for a deep breath **
Please stop, take a deep breath, don’t become defensive, and understand that I’m not saying this for all people, all Americans or for all of us all the time. This MAY be the case for SOME people SOME of the time. There are some times that I’m guilty of this train of thought, so I tend to think there are others who think similarly as well. Now that we’re not reading this defensively, please continue.
** take another deep breath because they just feel good **
We like when God heals, when God intervenes in tough times, and when He provides for us when we never think possible. For example, right now I have a nagging cough. I’ve thought several times, "It sure would be nice if God healed me.” But why? So I could tell of the awesome work God has done in my life and let it be a testimony to His name? Or, so I can be alleviated of the inconvenience this cough has been and tell no one that it was God who healed me? After all, I’ve served God for so long, He owes me.
Let me clear one thing up: God owes us nothing. We owe Him everything. But as humans created with a human nature, sometimes we think God owes us favors for how often we go to church and for reading our Bibles.
On my way to worship team practice one night I wanted to stop at Subway on my way. I had about a 15-minute drive, and I passed one Subway that was about a half mile off the road I was on. Out of my complete laziness, I thought, "There’s got to be one closer than this. I know there’s one downtown that I can go to and that’s right on my way to church." Five minutes later, I passed another one and it still wasn’t the one downtown yet.
I knew the one downtown was still there too, but this one was only twenty-five feet off the road I was driving on. “Couldn’t get much closer than that,” I thought. So it was there that I got my turkey sub on wheat with mayo and everything but jalapenos and olives on it.
As I was walking out the door, sub in hand, I began to reflect on what had just happened. I wanted to go to the Subway that was most convenient and the least amount out of my way and at that moment I thought to myself, "How often is my relationship with God like that? Is that what I want? Convenience? Blessings?" Yes all of those things are nice, but then this picture of Job flashed across my mind. He wasn’t a guy that served God out of convenience or because of what God could DO for him. He served God because God came first. God wasn’t some addition he added to his busy life that we Americans are so guilty of sometimes. God was Job’s life. He was what he lived for everyday.
At that moment, I came to the realization that I do not want to be someone that serves God out of convenience or because of what God can DO for me—I look for Subways that way. I don’t want to search out the heart of God in the same way I search for a turkey sub.
I want to desire God for who He is, not for what He does.
Yes, He does so much for us, and trust me I’m grateful for that, but may that not be the reason I desire to spend time with Him and chase after the plans He has for me. May I chase after Him because of His character and because He desires to spend time with me. One of the worst gifts anyone can give someone is the gift of convenient time. I’m not talking about fitting people into our schedules—time management is a good thing. I’m referring to the I’ll-hang-out-with-you-because-there’s-something-in-it-for-me mentality.
If friendships are based on that self-serving mentality, they are not going to last very long. People catch on. And if people catch on, the God that knows every intention of our heart catches on as well.
This really hit home in my heart, and in thinking this, it was a bit of a letdown for me because I thought of the many times my relationship with God has taken the passenger seat to something else that really wasn’t more important. The reality is that nothing can be more important.
“God isn’t looking for religious people; He’s looking for people who are hot after His heart. He wants people who want Him, who want the Blesser more than the blessings.” –Tommy Tenney, The God Chasers, p. 149.
May it be my heart’s desire to unlock the heart of Job inside of me and put God first over everything else and, in doing so, “want the Blesser more than the blessings.” And may I chase after God simply for who He is, not what He can do for me.