When my boys were little, they would often bring me a toy or a puzzle that they could not get going by themselves. “Daddy, will you start this for me?” they’d plead thinking that if I would just get it going for them that they could take over from there and make it work. Time and time again they’d return after failing to make it work and plead again for me to help them start over.
Finally, after I’d had enough, because their ability to endure outlasted mine, I’d complete the puzzle or make the toy go and they’d laugh and clap only to tear it apart and ask me to help them start it again.
Sometimes it’s a blessing that daddies have to go to work eventually . . .
Popular mythology holds that Albert Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again expecting to get a different result. I’m not sure good old Albert actually coined the phrase but who ever did certainly was a genius.
It seems we humans, as a whole, are cursed with this particular type of insanity. We more readily buy into the phrase “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again”. And off we go, running head first into a wall we can’t break through.
There are certain things we cannot accomplish without help, though that does not stop us from trying, repeatedly, over and over, time and time again, one time after another, redundantly. It’s enough to drive even an apostle to madness:
You crazy Galatians! Did someone put a hex on you? Have you taken leave of your senses? Something crazy has happened, for it’s obvious that you no longer have the crucified Jesus in clear focus in your lives. His sacrifice on the Cross was certainly set before you clearly enough. Let me put this question to you: How did your new life begin? Was it by working your heads off to please God? Or was it by responding to God’s Message to you? Are you going to continue this craziness? For only crazy people would think they could complete by their own efforts what was begun by God. If you weren’t smart enough or strong enough to begin it, how do you suppose you could perfect it? Did you go through this whole painful learning process for nothing? It is not yet a total loss, but it certainly will be if you keep this up! Galatians 3:1-4 The Message
See, the Galatians initially accepted the grace of God offered through the sacrifice of His Son Jesus, knowing that they did not earn it by their good works. But somehow, they forgot or were misadvised and started to believe that they had to earn God’s favor. Paul’s rhetorical smack upside the face was, “If you didn’t earn it before what makes you think you could earn it now?”
A gift is just that: A gift. If you had to earn it’s not a gift but compensation. Grace is a gift from God, given to those who believe in “The Message” of Jesus. Can’t earn it. Don’t deserve it. Can’t buy it because it ain’t for sale.
To do anything else is sheer insanity!
Pressing on toward the goal . . .