The words spilled out as I raced to meet my Dad in the driveway. His work had taken him away from home for a few days. Knowing he always brought home a small, “I was thinking of you,” present I was anxious to see what it was.
I saw his face fall and his brow darken. His disappointment was obvious. Yes, he had brought us all something, but he was disappointed that my first words weren’t to welcome him home.
My words betrayed my heart. I was glad to see him because it meant a gift. I should have wanted to see him, not the present. I should have asked about his trip, enjoyed having him home and rested in his presence. Instead, I was focused on myself and what he could give me.
Sometimes as I pray I remember that encounter and wonder how God reacts to my requests. What is my motivation in prayer? Do I rush to pray so I can get things from God, or do I rush to pray to spend time with the Father who I love? A Father who has promised to do, “abundantly beyond all that we ask or think.” (Ephesians 3:20b NASB)
Yes, my Dad gave me a present that day. I think it was a pack of gum. He handed it to me as he pointed out my defective manners. More importantly he taught me the difference between people and things. The relationship always has to be more important than the things. Always.
“…Because this people draw near with their words and honor Me with their lip service, But they remove their hearts far from Me, And their reverence for Me consists of tradition learned by rote;” Isaiah 29:13 NASB