“Dad, I want to bring in the flooring,” my 5-year-old son Kaelen asked me for the tenth time today. My wife and I are living in a fixer-upper duplex we bought a few months ago. I bought some flooring a couple days ago for my kitchen, and it’s still sitting in my minivan. I have not had the time or the drive to move it inside. My son, it seems, has both of these. This time I finally give in and we head outside and begin unloading the 20+ boxes in the van. I open the door and grab three boxes. The boxes are about four feet long and weigh about fifteen pounds each. My son walks up and grabs a single box and muscles it out of the van with all his might. He nearly falls over as he struggles to carry the awkward package by himself. I walk my three boxes into the house and return to see that my son has only made it a few feet farther and is now dragging his box.
I am so tempted to let him continue to struggle while I finish quickly unloading the van, but I pause. My son has been so excited to unload this flooring; I can’t possibly rob him of that. So, almost annoyed, I ask him, “Kaelen, do you want to get one side while Daddy gets the other side?” He grins from ear to ear and says one word: “Yeah.” So, box by box, we carry the flooring inside the house, him on one end and me on the other. He is so happy to be doing this with me, but I can’t help but think of how I could complete this whole task myself in one-tenth the time it is taking us to complete it together.
All of a sudden, a huge “ah-ha” moment hits me like a ton of bricks (or laminate!). A few weeks earlier I had been thinking about how strange it is that God uses people like me to accomplish His purposes. It really isn’t very efficient. Really, when you look at the Church in general, we are not very efficient. The disciples were given one command when Jesus left them: Go, and make disciples. It has occurred to me that the church really is not efficient at this task. While I had been thinking about this I had a conversation with God. “God, why do you do it this way? It sure seems like you could do a much better job without using broken humanity.”
So, as I am moving this flooring with my son, God turns on the lights of understanding. I get the answer to my question: Because He is not only about the end result. Don’t get me wrong, He ALWAYS accomplishes His end goal, but, at the same time, he has purposes wrapped up inside the process itself. Yes, I could finish the task of unloading the flooring ten times faster if I just excluded my son. But, at the same time, I would not be allowing my son the joy of helping. I really don’t need my son’s help; but that’s not the point. God does not need us to accomplish his purposes. He simply doesn’t. He could accomplish the task one bazillion times faster and better all by Himself. He is God, and we are not. But that is not the point. It really is His joy to include us in HIS work and, in the process, our sanctification is also part of that work accomplished.
“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10, ESV)