Friday, February 27, 2009

Love to Be Asked

Yesterday morning as I hugged Steve before he left for work, he asked me if I could bake goodies for him to take to work today. "Sure," I said. "What's the occasion?" Nothing in particular, he explained; he just wanted to celebrate Friday (this Friday is extra sweet to him since he had to work last weekend and didn't get a normal break).

For me to make something for the guys at work isn't all that unusual. Sometimes they get the leftovers when I've made a treat and don't want it sitting around tempting me; other times, I'll make something specifically for them. I enjoy baking, and I like being able to bless others with the treats I make, so I'm happy to send Steve off with something sweet to share.

As I savored a piece of still-warm banana bread last night (a silly name for it--the recipe, with its chocolate glaze, is really more like cake), it occurred to me that this experience might be related to the way God invites us to ask Him for help. I immediately thought of an argument John Piper puts forth in his book Future Grace.

We are forever indebted to God for the infinite grace He has poured out on us. He has given us not only salvation through His Son, but ten thousand blessings besides. Yet we can't ever hope to repay Him by doing good deeds (though we certainly should seek to glorify Him and love others by doing good!). Rather, we honor Him most by continuing to depend on Him. We ask Him for more grace, and in doing so, we show that He is the ultimate Treasure of the universe; we prove that the riches of His grace are inexhaustible.

I got a glimpse of this in some small (and very limited) way through the gladness I felt when Steve asked me to bake. Obviously Steve is not indebted to me, and I am neither infinitely good nor full of infinite riches. But the point is, his request wasn't a burden or a bother to me. It was incredibly easy for me to fulfill, and I loved to be able to do something that would bless him and his co-workers. Steve's asking honored me. It was a delight for me to help him.

"What shall I render to the Lord for all His benefits toward me? I shall lift up the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the Lord. I shall pay my vows to the Lord" (Psalm 116:12-14).

Piper explains:
"The psalmist's answer to his own question, 'What shall I render to the Lord for all his benefits?' is, in essence, that he will go on receiving from the Lord so that the Lord's inexhaustible goodness will be magnified. First, lifting up the cup of salvation signifies taking the Lord's satisfying salvation in hand and drinking it and expecting more. ...'paying' back to God in these contexts is not an ordinary payment. It is an act of receiving.

"Second, this is also the meaning of the next phrase: 'I shall call upon the name of the Lord.' What shall I render to God for graciously answering my call? Answer: I shall call again. I will render to God the praise and the tribute that he is never in need of me, but is always overflowing with benefits when I need him (which I always do)."
God promises to supply our needs, and He delights in blessing us beyond our needs. He loves to show through the lives of His children that His grace is immeasurable, that He is more than enough. He gave His only Son to reconcile us to Himself--so anything else we need is so small, so easy for Him to provide. He invites us to ask Him for help, to ask and keep asking Him to pour out His grace in our lives!

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

That was so beautifully put! The Lord has shown me how much He wants to supply my every need, no matter how small it is. We need Him and He wants to be needed.

Thanks for the reminder.