It's Bryan's birthday this Sunday, and I thought it would be fun to share a story from his college days. This is one of the first stories he told me that I turned into an article.
So, if you're wanting to know what God really wants from you, read on . . .
DAD VS. GODZILLA
“Aw, com’on Dad, not now,” I groaned. I shifted my legs across the couch and flipped the channel between an old rerun of Godzilla and the pro bowler’s tour. I’d only been home for two days and already Dad wanted me to work on the car. “It’s Saturday. Can’t I just relax?”
“Car’s gotta be fixed,” Dad mumbled and walked back to the garage. Tools clanked as he began working on the old Chevy Caprice.
I shook my head and let out a long sigh. What did Dad want my help for anyway? He could do just fine without me. After all, I came home to visit and to have a break from my hectic schedule. I certainly didn’t intend to get elbow-deep in an old junker. I flicked the remote control again and watched Godzilla stomp through Tokyo. Smash, crash, roar ... the same ol’ Godzilla. I turned off the television and closed my eyes.
My head bounced as something landed on the couch. I looked up. Mom sat about a foot from me with a huge load of laundry piled at her side. She stared at me for a moment, frowned, then proceeded to fold socks.
Finally, she put the socks aside. “You know, he just wants to spend time with you while you’re here,” she murmured. Then, she stood and returned to the kitchen.
I sat up and thought about Mom’s words. Could it be that Dad just wanted my company? I knew that he didn’t need my help. After all, I knew much less about cars than he did. But he had still asked to come out to the garage with him. I had to find out if Mom was right. Slowly, I got up from the couch and trudged out to the garage.
“Hey Dad,” I muttered. “Want some help with that?”
Dad pulled his head out from the engine and wiped the back of one greasy hand over his forehead. Slowly, a big smile replaced the sad look that had been on his face moments before. “Grab me a five eighths wrench over there,” he motioned to the toolbox with his chin, his hands embedded again in the Chevy’s engine.
I rolled up my sleeves and retrieved the wrench. For the rest of the day, Dad and I worked side-by-side, sweating, grunting, and sharing little bits of our thoughts over the old engine. By the end of the day, my face was as grease-smeared as Dad’s, and I had a long tear in my shirt where the Chevy had gotten the better of me. But, the time with Dad had been worth it. Mom was right. It had been a great day, much better than reruns of Godzilla.
The next day, as I sat in church and listened to the Pastor speak about how God has adopted us as His children, I thought about my day with Dad. And I wondered, was my Heavenly Father like my earthly one? God could do anything He wanted without my help. But maybe He, like Dad, asked me to be involved with the things He was doing just so I could spend time with Him, and come out looking like Him at the end of the job.
How many times did I miss out on God’s fellowship because I didn’t want to be inconvenienced? All of a sudden, little excuses like “I’m too tired,” “I do enough already,” and “My help isn’t really needed anyway,” seemed silly to me. How could a person be too tired for God, or get too much time with Him? Had I been choosing Godzilla over God?
I thought about the women’s retreat I’d been asked to help with, the visit to my neighbor down the street that I kept putting off, the woman at work who needed help moving. It was time to make some changes. It was time to roll up my sleeves and spend some quality work time with “Dad.”
Needless to say, I don’t watch much Godzilla anymore. When opportunities to work beside my heavenly Father, or my earthly one, come along, I want grab the tools and say, “Let’s go!” whether it’s Saturday or not.