It is getting to be that time of year again, lake time. Every summer weekend my Friday afternoons are spent in transit to Lake Allatoona where my parent’s have a lake house. My husband and I love this little break and always enjoy our time out there. The last couple of summers though, there has been a huge infestation problem…snakes! Well, to be perfectly honest, I suppose you could say that one snake sighting a summer is not a “huge” infestation problem…but I would fundamentally disagree.
In hopes of calming my fears, my dad always purchases this miracle concoction called “Snake Away”. It comes in a relatively large jug and, once dumped around the perimeter of the property, snakes are supposed to stay away from that area. Naturally, dumping duty is priority #1 at the start of the season.
One particular dumping session, while my husband, mother and I were playing cards at the table outside, I happened to glance over at my dad while he was spreading around the Snake Away. I couldn’t believe my eyes…he was fake dumping! I watched him prance around the perimeter of our property, pretending to dump the product, but nothing was coming out! He was simply going thru the motions to ease my mind, but nothing was really getting done! (Apparently, he had run out.) Frankly, I was shocked!
“It's your heart, not the dictionary, that gives meaning to your words.” – The Message
The more I think about the experience with my dad, the more I wonder: Is his behavior and mine really all that different? There have been numerous days in my life when my heart is just not in the “spiritual” mood. I will go through the process of writing my blog. I will go through the process of looking up Bible verses. I will even utter a small prayer as I drive out of the parking lot. But, when all is said and done, my heart was nowhere in the entire process.
What good does it do us, to simply, go through the motions? God is no more fooled by our behavior than we are. He knows when our hearts are pure, and He knows when we are preoccupied. I truly believe that a prayer uttered in distraction is worse than no prayer at all. May the Lord enthrall our minds, may He take captive our attention.
Why bother going through the motions, because without the purity of our attention, the motions mean nothing anyway.