I am not, by nature, acquisitive. So I was startled to realize that I was lusting after a new set of cookware. It just wasn’t me.
But sure enough, each day I’d pull up the images of the pots and pans on the Macy’s website. I’d check the price. I’d admire the graceful shape of the stockpot and curve of the skillets. The shimmer of their bronze color entranced me. I longed for their heatproof handles.
I had it bad. I wanted those pots and pans.
But here’s the thing: How do you wear out a pan? I’ve never cooked in a skillet until it sprouted a hole like a used-up shoe. Pots don’t disappear, magically vaporizing from the cupboard like a favorite pen goes missing from my handbag.
My pots and pans weren’t perfect. Chicken breasts were always more golden when cooked on the side nearer the big skillet’s handle. Their exteriors had faded to a chalky black color. The small saucepan wobbled just a bit under its lid. But they were still serviceable.
I don’t generally replace things that are serviceable.
So I spent some time contemplating why, exactly, I so wanted new cookware. And once I figured it out, I bought them. I lugged the big box home and tenderly unpacked all the perfect new pieces, washing them in soapy water and wiping them dry.
Then I set to packing up the old, unloved pots and pans. I hadn’t figured out what I’d do with them, yet, but they were still useful.
The next morning I found a note from a friend in my email: “I hope I’m not being too bold or forward, but do you have plans for your old pots and pans?”
I chuckled. With one simple message, my problem was solved. I could pass my pots and pans on to my friend. I tapped back: “Yup. I’m giving them to you. I’ll bring them when I see you on Wednesday.”
Later, I got to thinking about her message, about the “bold” and “forward” parts. She’d done me a service, letting me know she could use the objects that I no longer wanted. I gave thanks for her candor, grateful that she didn’t trip over her pride on her way to requesting them, grateful that my pots could bless her kitchen.
Considering it further, I realized that her asking had pleased me. I had something she could use, and she’d let me know.
My friend’s simple request was remarkable for its rarity. We all hesitate to ask for what we need, don’t we? It implies a state of lacking. It tells the world, “I can’t take care of everything all by myself.” It demonstrates that we’re not independent.
I don’t know about you, but I’m troubled by the things I lack. I lack faith sometimes, and grace. And when I’m on deadline at work and the phone calls are all for me and the administrative assistant is reporting that the copier just died, well, I can’t take care of everything all by myself. When I’m sitting in the parking lot at the grocery store with a dead battery, I’m reminded that I’m not independent. Unless someone comes to my aid, I’m either walking home while my groceries rot or sitting there a long, long time.
I have this Friend who knows even better than I about my state of lacking, my inability to handle everything, my dependence. And nothing pleases Him more than when I come to Him and ask for His help with my struggles.
This year, I’m asking for it.
I’m asking for Him.
14 This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.
1 John 5:14-15 (NASB)