Saturday, October 16, 2021



Why do we do the things that we do?

One evening, during my late elementary school years, I stood in my dad’s garage along with both my dad and older brother.  We gathered together to admire the new kitchen cabinets that had just arrived and lay waiting to be installed.  As we meandered through the new cabinets, my dad and I both looked up to see my older brother standing 6 feet away…violently shaking his head from side to side.  His jaw was slackened and you could see his malleable cheeks flapping loosely, causing spit and drool to fly from his relaxed mandible. The two of us watched in confusion.  When he finally ceased flapping his head like a rain soaked Labrador retriever…my dad asked…”What are you doing?”

“I don’t know…” was all he replied.

That was weird.

Despite his insistence on “not knowing” what he was doing…there must have been some underlying reason as to why he decided to shake his head so vehemently. It is possible that he had just lost his mind…or perhaps was trying to shake his brain matter out through his ears.  In either case that could be considered…a reason.


Why do we tip at restaurants? I know that it is initially…”To Insure Promptness”…but let’s be honest…it is an obligation.  In fact, in some cases tips are automatically calculated into the bill.  Don’t get me wrong…I think that generous tipping is a pretty cool thing…especially when someone else is the generous tipper. 

As a couple of young high school students, my flapping faced brother and I sat at a café table just finishing up a couple of burgers that we had been treated to from a local antique dealer.  The two of us had spent the day hauling antiques to his shop from a local auction.  Upon the completion of our meal…the antique dealer (who was also our grandfather) pulled out a coin purse filled with a fistful of U.S. minted change.  He dug through the jingling pile of metal…pulled out one worn nickel and placed it on the table.  I am no expert…but I am guessing that this less than generous “tip” did NOT “insure promptness,” in any of his future visits. Why did he even bother to give a tip? Generosity? Obligation? Affirmation?


Why do we tip? Why do we give? Why do we pray? Why do we fast? What is it that draws us to do the things that we do?  I think that this is exactly what Jesus is challenging us to understand in Matthew 6:1-18. Here Jesus gives some instructions on giving, praying, and fasting.  Sometimes, I think that we take these words as more demands as to how we are supposed to live.  In a way…that would be true, yet I think that what Jesus is really driving at is our hearts.  I have become more and more convinced that Jesus is working to transform our hearts. He is working to make us more in tuned with the heart of God.  Jesus wants us to live our lives, motivated by the love of God…and the love for God. May we come to ask Jesus to do that heart work in our lives.  It is a work that ONLY He can do…so let’s invite Him to do it.

No comments:

Post a Comment