Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Him and said to Him, “Teacher, we want You to do for us whatever we ask of You.” Mark 10:35
I’ve been talking to my kids lately about how they ask for things. I explained that if they word their request in a certain way, they’re more likely to have success. I was clear that I wasn’t teaching them to be manipulative, just helping them to see that how they word things matters.
No matter what angle I used, they just weren’t getting it. I finally created a script for them to follow.
Now, for example, when they want to play screens, they say, “I would really like to play screens. Is there anything you need me to do first?” I’m positive they really don’t want to be told: “Yes, Please clean your room first,” or “Yes, Change the litter tray first.” But just the phrasing has me more open to their request. I also believe that, over time, the more they make the offer, the more sincere they’ll become.
As much as I expect this from my kids, I realize I’m not holding myself to the same standard. I never go to God and say, “I’d really love you to cure Caryn’s cancer. Is there anything You need me to do first?” Instead, I just bombard Him with requests all day long: “Please give me patience.” “Please help my friend get through this tough time.” “Please guide the surgeon’s hands during Judy’s surgery.” The list goes on and on, like a two-year-old saying, “Gimme! Gimme!”
I know God doesn’t need us to bargain with Him or attempt an exchange of favors. But I do think He wishes we were more willing to work toward His kingdom versus our own. Ours is temporary; His is eternal.
I hope to take my own advice and use my own script from now on: Asking God what I can do for Him before asking Him to do something for me. Like my kids, the selfish side of me really won’t mean it at first. But maybe, over time, I too will become more sincere when making the offer.
Question for Reflection:
* Before I ask God to do something for me, do I ever ask what I can do for Him?