Packing FaucetsBlog / Produced by The High Calling
The small girl in the school parking lot stomped her feet. “I can do it myself!” she said, determined to carry her heavy backpack into the classroom. Only a moment later, with a sigh and a hopeful expression, she was holding her arms up: “Carry me, Daddy.”
Like that little girl, we all live somewhere between wanting to take on the world and wanting to depend on someone stronger to handle it . . . and wishing never to leave the car in the first place. The times we feel invincible, we believe it’s all about us. Other times we know we need help. And still other times, feeling overwhelmed, we hide behind insecurity or fear or laziness.
In Scripture, Jesus asks us to use the gifts and power that He gives us. At the same time, He calls us to depend on Him. In John 15:1-8, huddled with his closest followers, Jesus contrasts a life connected to the power of God and one separate from God’s power. Knowing that we will try to live on our own, Jesus repeatedly charges His people to “remain” in Him—to stay connected. In verse 5, He says “apart from me you can do nothing.” Eight times He uses the word that translates into English as remain, abide, or make yourself at home. On our own, he says, we lack sufficient strength or smarts or talent to make life work. Unconnected to the Source, we run out of our natural gifts—we lose steam, grow frustrated, and give up.
Lawrence of Arabia was famous for his work among the Bedouins in the early part of the 20th century. He once brought a group of the desert tent-dwellers to London and put them up in a nice hotel where the conveniences of Western life intrigued them, particularly bathroom faucets. Water on demand! As they all were checking out of the hotel, Lawrence discovered that his desert-weary guests had removed the faucets from the sinks and hidden them in their luggage. They’d reasoned that the faucets were their access to the water.
We often live between the conflicting misconceptions that we are a) able to function on our own or b) unable to do for ourselves. In truth, when we accept and connect to Christ’s offer of power we have sufficient power to use the gifts He has given us for life. The challenge is to use the gifts He gives us and yet depend on Him for the power to use them. Thankfully, God never gives up on us.