My grandfathers were a proud part of a generation that fought Hitler, saved the world from tyranny jumped started the US economy. Not a bad list for a group of former immigrants and cast-offs.
Sadly they are farther and fewer between—since most have passed on. I came to find one thing about the people of that time. If you wanted to get to know them…
You didn’t go out for coffee You didn’t sit down for a heart to heart talk.
You went out and worked together.
Perhaps you would paint a fence together.
Perhaps work on your bike or car together.
I painted a huge fence one summer with an old man who talked and worked. When the working stopped—the talking mostly stopped. There was something that work activated in him that caused a sense of camaraderie and sparked opportunities for him to pass on his knowledge about painting—but mostly he shared lessons and stories from his life.
As we worked together we would have these conversations that revealed his heart. Over the course of time we became great friends—and fixed a lot of things.
I think he practiced something we have lost.
Something I see that patterned in God.
Read this text and then let me make a simple point:
19 Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. 20 So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals. But for Adam no suitable helper was found. (Genesis 2:19-20)
Here you have people in the Garden of Eden, and they have direct access to God. God could choose anything in the world to do. He could use any tool to get to know them.
He could have them sing songs to Him
He could have them bow and pray to Him
Anything He wanted.
What does God choose to do? He takes Adam by the arm and says “You know Adam, I have a project over here that I could use some help with. Let’s go do some work together. I think I could use your help with these new animal things I’ve just made…you look like the kind of guy who could come up with some good names…”
Of all the ways to build a relationship with people, God chooses to work alongside us. It’s in the act of working together that God chooses to build trust and relationship with us.
Working with us—is His first choice.
Not being worshiped
Not just sitting around and talking with us
Not revealing deep truths to us
Painting a fence. Making names.
That is God’s Way to get to know you. If you really want to get to know God—my guess is that He probably still has a project or two lying around that He would be interested in getting some help with.
Grab a brush and open your mind.
Jimmy Spencer Jr (@jimmyspencerjr) is the founder and CEO of Love Without Agenda and author of Love Without Agenda: Moving Our Spiritual Goalposts from Heaven & Hell to Wholeness which is available for FREE e-download. He’s just a good guy trying to change the world—and himself—one act of love at a time.