The art of negotiation starts early. We’ve all seen the toddler given a plate of food that does not include pasta or chicken nuggets. He vacillates between refusing to take a single bite to avoiding the inevitable by simply playing with the food or entertaining everyone at the table. Finally, he offers, “if I take two bites, can I be done?” His weary parents agree and his bargaining skills are set in motion. He learns to bargain for everything from extra hours before bedtime to the family car on the weekend.
We all, to some degree, are artful negotiators. We bargain with bosses, parents, spouses, the scale and even ourselves. And, if we are not careful, the idea of bargaining – “if I….then __________” – carries into our spiritual life. In Thailand, the Buddhist monks adhere to a long list of rules and restraints in an effort to make themselves purer and to achieve enlightenment. Even those who are not monks, work carefully to keep the spirits happy – believing if they do so, they will have good karma and a happy life.
It is not hard to develop the same type of mindset even as Christians. However, there are no works of righteousness that can either earn our salvation or guarantee us a trouble-free life. We do not “bargain” for our salvation and we cannot bargain with God in order to control or manipulate our circumstances.
These are my thoughts from this week’s prompt at Five Minute Friday – IF. They include just a hint of some of the things that impacted me while I was on my trip to Thailand. I hope to include more in the days (or weeks) ahead. I want to thank each one who prayed for me while I was gone. It is hard to believe the trip has come and gone but I pray God will daily continue teaching me from the experiences I had while there. It can be hard to process it all at once…so I’m looking for little nuggets of new truth each day!
I did have the opportunity to help teach English to 11th-grade students at a Buddhist temple. Of all the teaching activities we did, this was definitely the most fun. So many laughs!!
14 Replies to “No Bargaining with God”
I love the analogy you used with bargaining. I have to admit it is easy to fall into that habit. How exciting that you had the opportunity to teach English to students in a Buddhist temple. WOW! I love how we can spread the love of Jesus by our actions. And yes, nothing we can do earns us salvation. How thankful I am for His free gift of love. Thank you for stopping by Heart Choices and leaving your kind comment.
Teaching at the temple really was an amazing experience!
Such a clever use of the word prompt! Thanks so much for sharing. Blessings to you and yours!
Thanks much – and thanks for stopping by my blog!
I'm glad your trip went well and I look forward to reading more. I agree, it can be easy to fall into bargaining with God- thinking if we do certain things he should do what we want- instead of remembering that he is in charge.
The trip was such a tremendous blessing – I look forward to sharing more in the days ahead!
Nice to meet you. Yes your words ring true. There is nothing we have to do to earn God's favour. But we can still have an if then statement. If we listen to Him and follow him He will build His house.
#40 on FMF
So true! Thanks so much for stopping by my blog!!
Such truth and wisdom here!
I am so happy that you went and came home safely. I can’t wait to hear details !
Thanks for praying, my friend!! Can't wait to share more with you!
Loved this, and the picture of you teaching in the temple is a delight!
Dealing with pancreatic cancer and a very bleak horizon, I find that people expect me to bargain…but cancer's only a part of life, and I am blessed beyond measure in the rest of it.
#1 at FMF this week.
Thanks for your kind words, Andrew! You are blessed – and a blessing to us each week at FMF! Thanks for sharing so faithfully!