There is a story found in Numbers 22-23 containing 2 men, King Balak and the Prophet Balaam, the Angel of the Lord, and a talking donkey. That’s right, a donkey.
One of the reasons I enjoy this story is because it’s told from the point of view of the “other team.” The narrative switches from the point of view of God’s people, to the viewpoint of the people who are not on “God’s Team.”
Numbers 22:20 focuses in on Balaam hearing from God with a message to go follow King Balak. Obediently, Balaam rises up early in the morning to do exactly what God has told him to do. Then we see in Numbers 22:22 God’s anger was kindled because Balaam went and followed King Balak.
What?!? Put yourself in Balaam’s sandals. “God, you just told me to do this and now you are are angry with me!? God, you told me to work here, move here, do this, but I feel you are distant from me. Why?”
The answer comes from who Balaam was. He was a prophet, but not a prophet of God, rather a prophet of gods. He talked with, searched out and followed many gods. Multiple gods would produce multiple voices telling him how to live and what he needed to accomplish with his life. Balaam was conflicted and not able to stand on one thing, because he was always turning around to find out what another voice may be telling him.
When Balaam rose up early in the morning, took his shower, did his hair, put on his prophet’s best, he was physically flowing for God–but his heart wasn’t. Balamm checked the box. He was following God physically, but spiritually he wasn’t committed.
Moses tells us that our God is a jealous God, who wants all of us. My challenge has been, do I just go to work day to day, checking the box that says, “I am doing what God asked me to do,” or am I believing that God wants me here for reason?
Where is my heart? Where is my mind when I am physically checking that box that says, “I am here doing what Jesus wants,”? Is our daily life a box to check or gift to be used and to be celebrated?
Jesus, thank you for everyday we have. Thank you for everything you have given us. Help us not to just go through the motions of showing up, but to be totally committed to you. We don’t want to just check the boxes in our lives. We want to be present in everything: physically, mentally and spiritually!