The God Who Needs Nothing

We are self-centered to the core. When I read the Scriptures assigned for this morning my mind immediately went back to a statement I heard recently about how our prayers move the hands of God.

Here are the verses.

"The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gave all men life and breath and everything else" —Acts 17:24, 25.

The scene is Paul preaching to the Athenians. The Greeks were big on statutes, altars, and religion. Paul wanted his listeners to understand that the true God was bigger than they imagined, much bigger than the trappings. His "bottom line" was to help the Athenians understand that this big, big, God was the One they needed to seek, and that this God, big as he was, was right there waiting to be sought.

The "trouble" with such a big God is that he can't be limited, or manipulated, by mere mortals—even if those mortals are his children. Perhaps that's why we treat God as though he were smaller than he really is.

Human nature tells us that kids press the limits, trying to get as much as they can from their sometimes reluctant parents. We often treat God the same way, as though he were a reluctant parent, that somehow we have to push all his buttons until we get the right one that will make him act. To add to the insult, for that is what it is, we seem to think that we are necessary to push God to do what God himself wants done.

That brings me back to prayer. You have probably heard it said, as I have, that we need to pray so that God will move. Who said that God won't move unless we pray? Do we really believe he would sacrifice a soul that he gave his life for just on our account, because we didn't "push" him to bring that person to the foot of the cross? Would God give up his agenda because ours was corrupted, and we didn't do our part?

I don't think so.

It might sound like I am saying that we don't need to pray. I'm not. Prayer is our way of expressing our dependence on God. Prayer is our means of recognizing that without him we can't do anything, of acknowledging that he does everything. It is our opportunity to align ourselves with his will, not impose our own—as if we could.

Those words: "…as if he needed anything" remind me that he doesn't need me to move him.

As the little boy who thinks he is helping daddy drive the car, matures, he realizes that it was daddy doing the driving all the time.


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