“Tell me what you think of this story: A man had two sons. He went up to the first and said, ‘Son, go out for the day and work in the vineyard.’ The son answered, ‘I don’t want to.’ Later on he thought better of it and went. The father gave the same command to the second son. He answered, ‘Sure, glad to.’ But he never went. Which of the two sons did what the father asked?”
They said, “The first.”
Matt 21:28-31a MSG
I was out walking – it was a sunny but exceptionally windy day. Along the shore of a small lake, tall stalks of cow parsley tossed in the wind. Their lacy heads shook and nodded in what looked like a frenzy of indecision: ‘No, maybe, I’m not sure, yes, not sure!’
That reminds me so much of myself. Like the sons in the parable, I’m nothing if not inconstant – ‘Yes, I’ll be there,’ but when the day comes, I don’t have the energy. ‘No, I couldn’t possibly do that!’ But after praying about it, I realise I can, and it is something the Lord wants for me.
As I reflected on this, I looked more closely and saw that, even as the cow parsley heads were writhing in a manic ‘Yes-no! Yes-no!’ their hollow stems were bowing low in only one direction, ‘Yes, yes, yes.’ It was a beautiful metaphor: my emotions may be all over the place, but in the midst of my indecision, I want to bow before the Lord. My mind and heart may be saying ‘Yes – no – I’m not sure’ but my will can set itself to obey.
With the strong wind of the Spirit at my back, I bow to him and ask to be shown what is and isn’t his will as I go through my day.
Prayer (as a couple)
Lord, please help us to figure out what your will is and then to obey. We want to be students of your Word so that your thoughts will be at the forefront of our minds and hearts.
Prayer (for others)
We pray for __________, who is struggling to say ‘yes’ to you day by day in a way that helps them move forward.
Does it make sense to pray for guidance about the future if we are not obeying in the thing that lies before us today? How many momentous events in Scripture depended on one person’s seemingly small act of obedience! Rest assured: Do what God tells you to do now, and, depend upon it, you will be shown what to do next.
Elisabeth Elliot, Quest for Love: True Stories of Passion and Purity