Pets require a lot of work - Big Hoss and Turner are no exception. They cost lots of money, their poo needs to get picked up, they need to be fed on the regular, they require clean up after hairball extraction, etc. These little fur dudes are kind of high maintenance. Jenna and myself put up with all these annoying things because every once and a while, we reap the benefits of cute fur balls that cuddle up and purr and love on you. Of course, this whole arrangement is a sweet deal for the kitties - they are chillin their way through life at my expense! At my realization of how high maintenance my cats are, I wondered, “am I high maintenance in my relationship with God?” Does God view me as “high maintenance”?
John 1:1 - “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
The first five verses of John speak about how Jesus is the Word of God. He is the Creator of the universe, He has existed from the very beginning, and that all life comes from Him. A lot of times, we may think of Jesus as the Son of God who existed 2,000 years ago - lived a perfect life, died, rose again, and He gives salvation. These are all correct and true things, but Jesus is so much more than that. He was fully God and fully man when He lived here on earth. He was literally God in flesh. This is important to remember - He was not part man/part God, He was God in the flesh.
Verses 9-14 of John explains how Jesus, the Originator of the life, came to earth in flesh and His creation didn’t recognize Him. In fact, they rejected Him! Jesus, who is God, came to earth and became human so that we could have a real relationship with Him. It’s crazy to think about the most-powerful being to ever exist leaving the most perfect paradise (Heaven) to become human (starting as a helpless baby, to be exact) entering a broken, sinful, destructive place for our behalf. That’s a lot of work and effort for God to make a connection with us! Of course, we know the ultimate sacrifice that Jesus made. 1 Peter 3:18 says,
"For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit."
As I reflected on how high maintenance my cats are, it occurred to me just how high maintenance I am to God. God has done so much, paid such a high price - in coming to earth to become human, dying for us - all these things just to have a relationship with us! Are we high maintenance to God? I think so. Does God see us as “high maintenance”? Nope. He views us as His children - with never-ending love and absolute care. We are not a “hassle” to our Heavenly Father. Yes, He has gone through a lot to have a relationship with us, but God only sees us as children that He loves non-stop.
Because we are a little on the high maintenance side (even though God doesn’t view us in that way), I think the least we can do is give God your thanks and time. He deserves our constant thanks for all He has done for us. What are some ways we can thank Him? Worship is a great way. Thank Him by praising Him with your life and in songs. But to be challenged: when you are worshipping (say, in Sunday morning song for example) - where is your heart at? Are you fully there, focused on God and connecting with Him? Or are you focused on other things - friends, distractions, inabilities to sing “well,” etc.? Make sure that your hearts and minds are in the right place to really give God your thanks. Prayer is another great way to thank God for all He has done. Like what we talked about a couple weeks ago - is thanksgiving a regular occurrence in prayer, or is God serving as your genie, taking your requests only?
Spend quality time with God. Have you ever hung out with someone, and it was completely forced? You put in the time with that person, but really you wanted to be hanging with other people in a different place. That’s not very quality time, is it? How is your time spent with God? Is it genuine or is it forced? Is Bible reading, for example, a forced box check? What if you wrote a lengthy letter of love and appreciation to your best friend, and when you asked them if they read it, they said, “Ya, I looked it over. I don’t know exactly what you said, I just skimmed it to tell you that I read it...” That wouldn’t feel great, would it? Is that how you read God’s letter that’s written to you? Quality time with God is key, it is well deserved on His part, and it is soul-enriching for us when we do it.
If we’re going to call it like it is: we’re kind of high maintenance to God. He wouldn’t consider us in that way, but He has done a lot for us and sacrificed so much. The least we can do is give Him some genuine, consistent thanks and spend some quality time with Him.