A few days ago I was cleaning the house. The floor needed cleaning so I grabbed the broom and began to sweep. Claire has a toy broom and dust pan that her grandma bought her that she keeps by her toy kitchen. As soon as Claire saw me sweeping in the hall she ran over to her kitchen and grabbed her own broom. I saw her do this and thought to myself, “if only I could train her to cut the grass.”
Claire came over to the hall where I was and she began to sweep with me. At first it was cute, but then Claire began to get in the way. The pile of dirt, dog/cat hair I had collected was being knocked around. I guided Claire so that she could use her broom and collect the dirt. For the most part she understood and moved the dirt towards the direction I was sweeping. It wasn’t perfect, orderly or neat but she did it. After a few seconds of this she would inevitably kick the dirt pile or drop the broom and make a mess.
The neat freak in me wanted to pick my daughter up and move her to another part of the house so that I could finish sweeping. However, I recognized that efficiency was not the important thing here. My child collaborating in my work was.
We had to stop, go back, re-sweep, and re-sweep again. By the time we finished sweeping it had taken 10 times longer than usual. Even then you could still see some of the places we had missed.
What would happen if God decided to do everything on His own? If instead of letting us collaborate with Him, He picked us up and moved us to another room? Sure it would all get done in half the time, it would be perfect, but something would be missing…us.
As my daughter got in front of me and knocked around my carefully collected pile of dirt I recognized that God is constantly inviting us to collaborate with Him—to join Him in His work. If He wanted to, God could do the work on His own. We usually get in the way of His plans and knock things around, etc. Yet I think He prefers it this way—us, together. I don’t think He prefers the messiness of it, or the fact that we can really screw things up. I do think however that the messiness and those screw-ups, etc. are tolerable because it is done together. As I stare at my daughter joining me in the work of our home I cant help but want her there; to serve with me; to create with me; even if it isn’t perfect.