Cashing that paycheck from a first job is a rite of passage for most teenagers. Whether it’s out of necessity to help support the family or just to earn a little extra spending money, securing a summer job is a gateway to the first taste of independence.
My first summer job came when I was 16 years old. I worked at a movie rental store (remember those?) called Video Warehouse. I wore a red polo shirt and khaki shorts to work four days a week that summer and checked out the latest DVDs and videotapes (remember those?) to Augusta families.
I made minimum wage, and I didn’t mind. Adding any amount to my bank account was an exhilarating feeling.
My parents were always generous with granting me spending money when I didn’t have a job. But there was something different about being able to provide for myself.
I might have been taking home only a couple of hundred dollars each month, but to me the possibilities of earning my own paycheck were endless. With a little bit of money came a greater sense of independence.
The longing of every teenage heart is to be independent. After you’ve tasted a little freedom from your parents, it’s hard to forget how sweet it is.
The older you get, the more embarrassing it becomes to have to depend on someone else to provide the things that you need. There’s a stigma of shame attached to not being able to provide for yourself.
Why, then, does God want us to depend on him so much?
Throughout the Bible we are constantly called to trust in God and to lay our burdens on him. Yet we feel guilty about letting God come in and do all the work of life for us. There’s a sense of doubt as to whether we deserve this grace.
It would be better, we think, to earn this love, and so we try to figure out things on our own as much as we can so that we don’t have to walk to God’s throne, hanging our heads in embarrassment, finally having to ask for help.
Inevitably, there comes a time when we crash. The moment comes when we realize we are incapable of doing it all on our own. That’s because the burdens of life are too big to bear on one human being’s shoulders.
There is no shame in being dependent on God. Though it might not be what you’re comfortable with, there is great relief in laying your burdens and struggles onto someone who can help you with them.
And God is that someone who can bear your every burden. His back is large enough to carry the weight.
God never intended you or anyone else to have to work to earn his love. He never expected you to have to do things on your own. There’s no way that you could. For that reason, there’s no need to keep working to earn anything from God.
All you have to do is accept his gifts.
Of course, we cannot expect God to move our hands and feet for us in life, but we can depend on him to find the strength to get moving. That is what being dependent on God is all about.
Stop working so hard to earn God’s love. No matter what your background is or whatever past you might have, God will always accept your application.
ALEX DORIOT IS THE DIRECTOR OF STUDENT MINISTRIES AT THE HILL BAPTIST CHURCH IN AUGUSTA.