Bishop made me a first-time mommy back in September and every day I see growth in both his understanding and ability. It is clear that he, too, recognizes his increasing intelligence and many times his expanding knowledge will cause him to do exactly what mommy wants him to do. The latest venture is “catch.” Yes, this morning’s simple game of “catch the ball” ended up not being so simple. I used to get excited that he would wag his tail in anticipation…watch carefully as my hand with the ball would wave in the air…and when he chased after the ball, I would clap as soon as his jaw grabbed hold of the ball (at first it was a struggle to even grip the ball, but he’s got it now). But then Bishop would walk…in whatever direction he wanted. Or sometimes, he would just park his booty on the grass where the ball landed, and freely take whatever licks and bites at the ball as he so pleases. I now realize that the game needed to be called “catch…and bring that ball back!”
Walking back from the park, I wasn’t frustrated, but I was pondering: “Why does my baby not want to play “catch and bring the ball back?” Does he not get that that is the real purpose of the game?” How quickly I was convicted when the same question was turned at me: “Well, Ify, how often do you return the many balls of blessings that have been thrown your way? Do you automatically bring such blessings under MY submission? Or do you, like Bishop, take it and run with it freely…or just hoard it…doing what you will?”
First, when God speaks to me, it is always a “Woooaahhh Nelly” moment. I turned around to see if anyone else in Brooklyn heard Him (of course not, silly). But, I did completely change what I originally was going to write on this my “Comeback Thursday,” and pondered on the following.
you get more when you bring it all back to God
What Bishop really wanted was to play catch…and to keep playing. His action of taking the ball under his own control, however, defeated and delayed that purpose. It did not mean he didn’t have a good time. What it did mean was that he possibly forfeited many good runs because he chose to pop-a-squat over a one time joyride.
The balls God throws at us are interesting. Many of them were blessings we we born with; others were acquired along the journey of life. The presence of a good thing can often distract us from the God-thing in the good thing. It is easy to be content with a partial-gift. Let’s transition quickly to the story of the ten lepers. (Luke 17:11-19). All ten asked for Jesus to take pity on them, and Jesus told them to go show themselves to the priests–a place none of them were permitted to go. On their way to present themselves to the priests, they were healed from whatever sickness they once had. They all went their way–they got the ball! One, however, came back, thanking and praising God for the blessing of healing. Jesus looked around, and even asked where the other nine were. To the one who came back, Jesus not only made him well but He made him whole.
We can never lose sight of the fact that while we are granted free will, we NEVER lose coming back to God after He has blessed us. At times, then and only then will His true purpose come to complete fruition in our lives. (don’t cut your game short just cuz you grabbed the ball).
purpose vs. task
Bishop got an “A” for completion of a task. After all, he did watch mommy, follow the ball, and catch it. He gets an “F” however for completion of purpose. Yea, that seems harsh (I wanted to give him a “C” so that yall wouldn’t think he had issues, but just follow the illustration). But the truth is, had he come back to mommy, the purpose of our outing would not only have been revealed, but it would have then been his goal in the future.
Chasing purpose versus chasing tasks results in two very different outcomes. In an article I read last night, the author discussed the concept of “primacy of purpose.” According to the author, “primacy of purpose is rooted in the mindset that you have to provide guidance on where you want to go but not always how to get there.” Even when we are equipped with a lot (and by “a lot,” I do not just mean material things, but this also includes a sound mind, healthy body, alert spirit), our outcomes run the risk of being flawed if we do not continually seek God’s guidance on what to do with what we have…not because we are evil or stupid, but because we are human and limited. It seems counterintuitive, but there is actually more flexibility pursuing purpose than sticking to concrete tasks. As the Author and Finisher of our fate, God’s purpose for our lives is unchangeable, and by consulting Him, we realize that He wants to partner with us to get there, by any means necessary. As we begin this new year, and vision boards are quickly being filled with goals, take a quick time-out and just ask the Wiz Upstairs what His thoughts are, and to continually guide you towards your purpose (which may mean some of your tasks will have to change to get there).
even the saints won’t shout at this one
So the truth is the more you walk (longer) with God, the more you come to understand what is required for righteous living. Christianity has been a “catch all” for all types of behavior, but just like other faiths, we also are guided by clear instruction on how to live (and understandably, many don’t like that). One such instruction is for us to “take captive of every thought to the obedience of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:5). The Moffatt translation puts it as this “…I take every project prisoner to make it obey Christ.” It is so easy and tempting to look at the others and determine if their actions follow the will of Christ. But we really need to ask ourselves that question. Oswald Chambers puts it so amazingly: “It is inconceivable, but true nevertheless, that saints (you and me) are not “bringing every thought [and project] into captivity,” but are simply doing work for God that has been instigated by their own human nature, and has not been made spiritual through determined discipline.” (yea…selah on THAT fruit).
Even with our best, sprightly, intentions, just like my puppy, we often take what God has given us and run with it off of impulses. The enemy of “great” is not “bad,” it’s “good enough,” and believers are just as susceptible to doing without seeking God’s thoughts. Though we correctly give God the praise for blessing us with gifts, talents, and opportunities, we incorrectly attribute many of our outcomes to “God’s will” or “God’s calling” (this is like getting a Grammy for singing “I wanna rub you down” and saying “Giving all honor to God for this blessing.” take many seats luv). Never confuse the blessing with the purpose. Blessings are often tools–puzzle pieces–to the full picture. In it of itself, it does not guarantee the completion of God’s desired intention for our lives. If that is our goal, our audience must change from friends to Father, and we must decide to bring even our own plans to His control.
presence feeds purpose
One thing about God is despite how we use what He gives us, He is always there. His presence remains constant, whether we seek Him or not. Once we make a determined effort to turn His way, and simply come back with what He gives us, He rewards our discipline and places us in position towards purpose-completion.
we don’t lose as much as we think by bringing it all back to Him.
#gofetch #bringback #IfyThursdays