We do chore packs at my house. It's a little plastic name tag holder that each girl wears with pictures of themselves doing each of their individual chores. As a chore is completed, the picture goes to the back of the pack.
My eldest was dillydallying one morning when she got a reminder from me to begin her chore pack. I got a "yes ma'am" followed by a happy skip out of the room. A couple minutes later, she reappeared with a huge smile and a nice tall glass of cold water to offer me. "Here ya go, Mommy! I wanted to honor you!" Pleased as punch with herself. Wow! That was really thoughtful of a 6 year old. How nice, you might say. Honor equals value. She knows I drink a lot of water and was showing me how much she valued me by bringing me a glass of water, unrequested.
Instead of feeling honored, I actually felt well... dishonored and disobeyed. I had simply asked for obedience. If she had done her chores first, then brought a glass of water, I would have been truly honored. I also could have expressed the joy that comes into my heart when I'm completely obeyed and then honored with a sacrifice on top of it. Now that would have been really wonderful! True honor to a fulfilled parents' heart after complete obedience.
How many times have I gotten it backward with God? How does he feel when I begin to obey but choose to put if off to do a 'task' or 'work' of legitimate honor for him instead?
I Samuel 15 tells about King Saul. He was told to by God through Samuel to annihilate the Amalekites as punishment for what they did to the Isrealites when they waylaid them as they were coming up from Egypt. He was told not to leave one person alive and kill all the cattle, sheep, camels and donkeys. Saul came really close to completely obeying, however, he spared the Amalekites king, Agag, and the best of the sheep and cattle-everything that was good-in his eyes- he spared. God tells Samuel he is NOT happy with Saul and when Saul returns Samuel has some words with him. Saul explains to Samuel that he DID obey God and even brought back the best to sacrifice to him on the alter at Gilgal. Listen to Samuel's reply in I Sam 15:22,
“Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices
as much as in obeying the LORD?
To obey is better than sacrifice,
and to heed is better than the fat of rams.
23 For rebellion is like the sin of divination,
and arrogance like the evil of idolatry.
Because you have rejected the word of the LORD,
he has rejected you as king.”
Works are wonderful if they come out of an obedient heart, not instead of an obedient heart.
Oh Lord! Help me to hear you today so I can obey! Give me the grace to see it to completion. I know you bless your children when we obey. How I long to be blessed by you and not by my own works. Fulfillment by my own hand is brief, but fullness in you lasts a lifetime. I feel my heart swell in my chest as I know you are doing a new work in my life. Thank you, Father, for loving me enough to change me. My day is yours...may my obedience honor you.