If you've had the pleasure of meeting my five-year-old daughter, you've probably been blessed. Whether it's by laughter because she's hilarious. Or her sweetness, which can sometimes be hidden by her strong will. Or, you are in awe of her incredible beauty. She is special for sure.
Today, as we were driving to school, she said, "Mom, what are those flowers that start out yellow and turn white?" I knew right away which "flowers" she was talking about. "Dandelions?" I asked. "Yes! Moms LOVE dandelions!" I held back a laugh because I don't know a single mom who loves dandelions. We love the gesture of our kids bringing us a treasure to say I love you. We love the sticky little hands that carry them, but we don't love dandelions.
We keep them in tiny vases made of condiment cups on the windowsill for a few days until they close up and our kids can't recognize them and we toss them for a day or so until they come in with a replacement. Despite the urging of bee enthusiasts, we pay lots of money to make sure they don't take over our lawns because we don't want to appear to our neighbors that we don't have everything under control. And for me, I have to keep them away because like Nora noted, they turn into white flowers and those white flowers make me sneeze.
And still, kids think we love them. It makes me wonder what things I think God loves that he really doesn't care much about. Most of those things probably fall into the performance category. The things we do to impress God. My background is classical singing and theatre, so I know a thing or two about performance. I've been trained never break character when something isn't going as planned. But that doesn't really work for God does it? He knows everything. He knows what "the plan" was and exactly how it's going. He knows when we are saying or doing things we don't really mean. He knows when we're performing.
We think things like, "Look at that God, I haven't missed church in weeks," or "Read my Bible again today!" But God is saying something akin to, "I don't love dandelions, but I love the hands that carry them." Maybe he doesn't care how many times we attend church or read our Bible as much as he cares about your heart in those things. He uses those things to bring us close to him, but our hearts are what he's after. Not because His ego depends on our worship, but because He knows the plan and He knows exactly how it's going.
I've been reading about Elijah this past week. Elijah was living in a time in history where Israel had a series of terrible kings. They murdered their predecessors and their families and ruined their kingdoms. And then along comes Ahab and he's introduced as the worst of all of them. I thought, "How is that possible?" Then, we learn that he built two golden calves for the people to worship. So, the thing he did that was worse in the eyes of God than a series of bloody coups was turning to an idol and causing the people to follow suit. Because what God wants from us is our hearts. Not our performances. Not our good behavior. Not our hard work. He wants our hearts.
I'll keep smiling when my kids offer dandelions as a token of their love. I'll put them in a place of honor and they will think I am a lover of dandelions. But what I really love is the hands that carry them.