“And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 13 and to keep the commandments and statutes of the Lord, which I command you this day for your good?
Don’t you hate it when someone says to you, “Is it too much to ask?” If I hear those words, (Which always seem to carry a note of disgust in their tone) correctly, I’ve let them down in some way. Maybe it was a breakdown in communication, or perhaps I just didn’t want to do what was asked of me. Either way, in their mind, I let them down. I hate to let people down.
I’m a bit of a people pleaser. I admit it. Experts says that’s not a good trait. “You can’t please everyone and only a fool tries”, they say. But, I care about what people think of me. I think the reason I care about what they think is because, maybe, just maybe, what they think of me reflects on what they think of Christ.
Most people I meet either know I’m a pastor or they can tell it by the cross I wear, or the clergy apparel I might have on. As such, I try to be mindful that what they think of me as a servant of Christ may reflect on Him too.
I feel like God is asking the children of Israel those same words. He’s delivered them from slavery to freedom. He’s delivered them into a land flowing with blessings, and all He seems to get is griping and complaining. “It’s taking too long. It’s too hot hear. There’s not enough variety to our food…” So, He tells them, “All I ask from you is your love, and that you love one another. Can’t you be thankful you’re no longer slaves? When have I ever let you down?” Of course, I’m paraphrasing God.
Sometimes, I sense God saying those words I hate to me… “Brad, can’t you be happy with your comfortable life I’ve blessed you with, your family and friends, the roof over your head and all the food in your pantry? Is that too much to ask?” I know I’m not the only one with this problem of thanklessness; it seems to be pandemic in our culture.
How thankful are you for the blessings of your life? If all we ever do is concentrate on what we don’t have, we’ll never be thankful for what we do have. This was how the Israelites began to fall away from God; they lost their thankfulness.
This Lent, why not spend some extra time in prayer thanking God for all He’s done for you? After all – is that too much to ask?
My daily Lenten prayer – “Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and sustain in me a willing spirit. ” NRSV