“My God is the ultimate vending machine.”
I doubt many of us would ever say that out loud. Actually, I doubt many of us think we believe that. Which is exactly why there was not an update last weekend – God and I were having many conversations about my decades long pursuit of “the better life” at the expense of a more intimate relationship with God, one that is primarily about Him getting glory in and through my life.
God saved me by His grace through the sacrifice of Jesus, allowing me to be adopted into His family and be called “His son.” Please understand, I am very aware of the cost of my salvation, eternally thankful for the initiative of God to rescue me, and endeavoring, by His grace, to have a more meaningful relationship with Him.
However, I am also becoming increasingly aware that I am a bratty, self-seeking son who has subtly embraced a sense of entitlement with my Heavenly Father. Forgetting that there was absolutely nothing in or about me that warranted His mercy, I realized that in my inmost being I think (and have thought for a long time) He owes me now that I am an adopted son.
So I come to God, my ultimate vending machine, drop in my four quarters (I go to church, I help in children’s ministry, I lead a small group, I give regularly) and then wait for the “can of blessing” to drop into my life. Blessings from Him regularly show up in my life – but I subconsciously attribute that to my four quarters, not His ongoing grace and His desire to bring glory to Himself. And if the expected can of blessing does not show up I either put in more quarters (I must try harder); or walk away confused (what does He want?); or kick and rock the machine (I thought you You cared about me!).
Last weekend I read the story of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32) as I have never read it before. It was suddenly obvious that the father desperately wanted the son to be with him, to share life with him, to love and be loved by him – which made the words of the younger son so incredibly painful. In essence the son said, “I don’t want a relationship with you; I have no desire for you or to be around you; I simply want what you can give me.”
I need to stop believing – on any level of whom I am – that all the amazing blessings in my life (and there are many) have anything to do with “my quarters” or that God owes me blessing based on what I may “do for Him.” God owes me nothing – He has already done more than I could ever deserve.
Take a moment and check your pockets for quarters – you may be surprised.