Vicki and I had the pleasure this past Sunday of going on a picnic in the park with Mitchell and Traci and our granddaughter, Rilyn. Rilyn is two and half years old and just loves going to the “powk” and was so excited to play on the playground equipment. On our drive to the park we told Rilyn we were going to eat lunch first before we played, so when we arrived we found a couple of picnic tables in the shade near the “elephant slide.” While we were setting the table with Vicki’s mouthwatering fried chicken, corn on the cob, cheesy potatoes and raspberry cheese cake, Rilyn kept begging to go down the elephant slide just one time. And, although we had firmly established no play until we finished eating, “gwampa” caved into Rilyn’s request to go down the slide.
After we had finished eating, we told Rilyn that she could play anywhere in the park as long as she stayed inside of the road. So, the fun began. With great joy and energy Rilyn ran from one piece of playground equipment to the next—a few minutes on this swing and then on to the next. Then she wanted to try the monkey bars and next on to the curvy slide until she noticed the big lion with the open mouth drinking fountain; it was time to play in the water. Next, all the way to the east side of the park to play in the sand volley ball court, for two hours she just ran from one thing to the next; it was so much fun to watch her and to play with her.
As I reflected on Rilyn’s desire to run from one fun thing to the next, I thought of the person who once shared the illustration with me that being in God’s will is like playing on the playground. I often meet people who struggle with knowing if they are doing what God wants them too. I’ve come to believe that God isn’t as interested in what we do as he is about our behavior wherever we are playing or working. Just like we didn’t care whether Rilyn played on the swing, or the slide, or in the sand, as long as she was kind to the other kids and stayed within the boundaries of the park, so too, I believe God’s will has more to do with how we work and play with others.
Yes, I believe there are times like with Abraham, Jonah, and Paul that God has a specific place and assignment for us to carry out, but for the most part we are free to roam in his kingdom to enjoy the passions he’s placed on our heart.
My prayer is that you are truly enjoying the freedom of living in God’s kingdom—enjoying the variety of opportunities for work and play on your journey with the circle of influence and with God. Like David when writing Psalm 119, may you feel the joy and peace of living in the center of God’s will, “I grasp and cling to whatever you tell me; God, don’t let me down! I’ll run the course you lay out for me if you’ll just show me how. God, teach me lessons for living so I can stay the course. Give me insight so I can do what you tell me—my whole life one long, obedient response. Guide me down the road of your commandments; I love traveling this freeway!“ Grace and peace to you, Mike