The other day, I said to Timmy, “I want you to get all your Play-Doh off the table.” He reluctantly but obediently walked toward the mess, so I left the room. I came back later to find his Play-Doh off the table, all right. It lay scattered on the floor next to where he had been sitting.
Not too long before that, I set out to deep clean my sons’ room. In the process, I discovered many things that didn’t belong to my older son, Kenny, stuffed into Kenny’s shelves, drawers and bins. It turned out that, when told to clean his room, Kenny had taken the things his sisters had left there and, instead of returning them to his sisters, simply shoved them out of sight.
Did my sons obey me? No. Sure, they complied with the letter of the law, but they completely disregarded its spirit. They chose obedience in name only over true obedience.
Good thing we moms never do that, right?
Okay, so we do. All the doggone time.
We fix lunch for our children, but then we slap it down in front of them, fed up with doing menial jobs. We get up in the middle of the night to tend a sick child and resent him or her for interrupting our sleep. We agree to take our kids to the library, grumbling inwardly that nobody seems to care how we wanted to spend the afternoon.
In any of these three cases, did we do what God wanted us to? No. At least, not fully. Because God doesn’t just ask us to drive the car, fix the meals or tend the sick. He asks us to do it with a willing, grateful spirit.
There have been several times this past week where I indeed served my children and did the things God wanted me to do, yet still failed to fully obey, because I didn’t have the attitude He wanted me to have.