Have you ever had a friend who just can’t receive a gift? You try to pay for dinner and they just won’t hear of it. If you give them a gift, they just can’t say “thank you”,there has to be an argument. Sometimes I think it’s a control issue. They are uncomfortable on the receiving end of a gift, they have to be on the giving end.
I think that’s how we are with God sometimes. We feel much more comfortable on the giving end of doing something for Him than on the receiving end of what He wants to do for us.
In 1 Chronicles 17, David had a desire to do something grand for God, to build Him a magnificent temple. But God questioned David, “when did I ask you to build me a house? Since the time I brought your people out of Egypt, have I ever said ‘build me a house’? In fact,” God said, “Instead of you building a house for me, I’m going to build one for you.”
There was nothing inherently wrong with David’s desire to build a house for God. God complimented him and said, “you did well that it was in your heart.” But David was guilty of assuming God would be honored by his desire without even asking if it was something He wanted. Even Nathan the prophet assumed God would be pleased by this gesture. But it wasn’t God’s plan. There was a lot of ground to be covered, kings to be conquered, and battles to be won before the time was right for Solomon to build the temple.
Sometimes we are quick to rush in to “doing for God.” We want to start something, build something, be something for Him and we never take into account that He might want to build something in us first. We can’t conceive that He wouldn’t be thrilled by the building we’ve built or the ministry we’ve started. But remember, what He does in us is always more important than what we do for Him.
It’s so much easier to work than it is to wait, isn’t it? Building a monument is much more satisfying than the hard and lonely work of humbling ourselves and allowing God to break us and mold us into His image.
Is that to say God does not call us to work for Him? Of course not. But our primary mission should always be knowing Him, allowing Him to do His work in us. There may be a lot of kings to be conquered and battles to be won in our heart before the time is right to fulfill our calling. Besides, it is only through that breaking and rebuilding that we can get our own desires out of the way so we are free to hear God’s heart for us.
I know our ambition to run out and do something usually comes from an honorable place of love, but instead of rushing out to build a monument to show our gratitude to God, sometimes it’s better – like David -to allow Him to build something in us first.
That’s the best way to say “thank you.”