Living beyond a tit-for-tat economy

Legend has it that my first public sentence was uttered in church. I was quite the adorable little person sitting on someone’s lap in the small church in the small town in North Dakota where we lived until a week before my third birthday.  “Turn to hymn number…” motivated this person to reach for the hymnal tucked conveniently and predictably in the pew rack just in front of where we were sitting. “No. Me get it,” was my response to him.

In that moment, I declared my ignorant independence.  I voiced the skewed reality of my little ego-centric self and expressed what I’ve been expressing in all sorts of ways ever since: I can do it myself without your help.

Never mind that I likely could not have reached the hymnal from the pew had I not been sitting on this knee.

All of life (for some of us, at least) is a tug and toss to bring us to a place where our relational world view aligns with God’s.  We generally hold too loosely to our need for others, thinking ourselves independent and self-sufficient or we hold too tightly to our need, and depend too much on others who ultimately prove undependable.

God created us to live interdependently with each other and entirely dependent — individually and collectively — on Him.

When we understand our utter dependence on the One who is utterly dependable, entirely capable, we can fully enjoy His designed interdependence in our human relationships.

Yesterday I was blessed by an extraordinary act of service because I was willing to ask for help. John, his two oldest sons, a son-in-law-to-be and two others college students staying with them this week came over and accomplished in less than two hours what it would have taken me days to accomplish on my own. Plus they did two other projects I would not have been able to do nearly as well — if at all.

Now, you might think that interdependence is tit for tat — that in order for this to be a demonstration of God’s design there has to be a known way that they need me.

That’s where I sometimes get caught, too. God’s design is not one that measures. It does not keep score or hold an account. In God’s economy of love you can’t be upside down on your relational mortgage because our debt is paid in full. This frees us to let others “help” and frees us to serve others generously. In His economy, we all need HIM and He meets our needs perfectly — often through others.

I’m learning.

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