It was just after 6 o’clock in the morning. I could hear my wife downstairs in the kitchen grabbing a few items before she headed to work. I knew I would need to be awake soon to get ready for the day. Five more minutes under a warm blanket didn’t seem like too much to ask for.
Then I heard it, the sound of an alarm clock with no snooze button. The pitter-patter of little footsteps came down the hallway. Not daring to let him know I was awake, I carefully cracked my eyes open and saw the silhouette of my 4-year-old son’s head peeking around the bedroom door. Then he disappeared.
A moment later, he came trotting down the hallway again, this time bursting into the bedroom. My son had an armload of books — Max the Bunny, Busy Town and one about locomotives. He dumped them on the floor next to me, proceeded to lie down and read them in the dark.
I thought to myself, “All I need is 5 more minutes before I have to start the day.”
I heard the whirring sound of a wind-up flashlight, followed by silence. Then came the inevitable request, “Daddy?” I stayed quiet, hoping he’d think I was asleep. “Daddy?”
The thought crossed my mind that I was in no shape to read about trains and rabbits.
Resigned, I responded, “What do you want, son?” This was followed by more silence.
In my mind, his list of requests was endless. Did he want me to read a story, wind up the flashlight, play with Legos or fix a broken toy car?
“What do you want, son?”
“I want you. I want you, Daddy.”
Those simple words shook me awake.
My son was not concerned about books, flashlights or toys He just wanted me, all of me.
My son spoke a powerful truth that morning. The best gift I could give him was myself. This is what he wants most and I try to give him this each day.
1 Peter 2:9 tells us, “you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” When I read this verse I hear my son’s voice — “I want you” — and God is saying the same to each of us. This Scripture reminds us that we are his chosen people and his special possession. In other words, God wants us, he desires a relationship with us. This relationship isn’t based on what we can do for him; it’s based on him loving us.
Too often our response to God is much like my initial response to my son. When Jesus knocks at the door of our hearts, we respond with: “I’ll give him what he wants later. I just need to do my thing right now.”
Often, we think about God having a checklist, marking off how good we’ve been or if we’ve done enough for others. 1 Peter 2:9 affirms that God does want us to be a holy priesthood, but holiness should flow from our relationship with God, the work of Christ in us, and the cross.
With my son, I find that when I am fully present with him, his requests are fewer items to do and become ways to better enter his world. It is similar with God. It makes all the difference to start from the perspective of relationship, instead of duty.
Wherever you are at in faith or in your relationship with Jesus, instead of focusing on how well you are measuring up, think more about how much God wants you. Will you take time today to just be his?
Josh Walker is the pastor of Valleyview Evangelical Friends Church located at 868 W. William St. in Delaware.