Jon-Mical is an observer. Jakson is a toucher. My two grandsons are smart, and fun, and full of life, but when it comes to the basic approach to the day-to-day stuff of living they are as different as night and day. Jon-Mical is a few days away from 10. He is quiet, soft spoken, very thoughtful. And he doesn’t miss a thing. When they come to visit, the moment he walks through the door he will say, “That’s a nice new pillow you have on the couch.” When Doris and I are having those special whispering conversations and he is engrossed in a video game, he will say, “Mimi, I’m almost 10. You can talk about sex in front of me.” He takes in all that is going on around him and processes it.
Jakson on the other-hand is all action. His Uncle Jake calls him Action Jakson. He hits the door full speed and full volume. He will be 7 in a month, so full speed is fast and full volume is loud. He is a kinetic processer. He picks up, handles, sniffs at, tries out, spins around, tosses in the air, EVERYTHING. A walk through the store with Jakson is a constant barrage of, “Jakson, put that down.” “Jakson, don’t climb up there.” “Jakson, spit that out.” “Jakson, be careful with that.” He is totally, 100% hands on. While Jon-Mical is carefully reading the rules and instructions of the game, Jakson has taken it out, rearranged the playing pieces, lost two of them, and tried the playing board as a frisbee. “Jakson, go get the Monopoly board off the top of the refrigerator.”
One thing I notice from history is that both these attributes are important, but I very often fail to do enough observing. Deuteronomy 4, Moses is preparing the Children of Israel to possess the land. He reminds them to be observant. Verse 1 says, “Hear the decrees and laws I am about to teach you.” Verse 5 says, “SEE, I have taught you decrees and laws.” And verse 6 says, “Observe them carefully.” Apparently, there is great value in taking a step back, taking a deep breath, and just observing what God is doing around us. At the beginning of this New Year, before I charge ahead, I am trying to see what God is about. Henry Blackaby and Claude King wrote a bestseller several years ago called, Experiencing God. The main idea is that we see what it is God is doing and we join in. They say, “We don’t choose what we will do for God; He invites us to join in where He wants to involve us.” I am learning to take time each year, each day, each moment, to quiet myself and observe what God is doing.
When I observe, I realize I am not alone. Remember the story of Elijah, so depressed right after he had won the great barbecue cookoff with the prophets of Baal. Rather than rejoicing with his blue ribbon, he hears the threat of the queen and he runs and hides in a cave, saying, “Poor me. I am all by myself. Nobody likes me. God has forgotten me.” God says, “Just be quiet.” Elijah tries to observe God in the thunderstorm, in the earthquake, and in the fire. God wasn’t there. As Elijah got more observant, he was finally able to hear the still, small voice of God. And God said, “Look, I have 7000 prophets that have never bowed their knees to false idols.” It is easy for me, in my busy activity to think I’m in this thing on my own. God has forgotten about me. But when I stop and observe I see a thousand different ways that He is with me, and others are as well.
The other thing that happens when I observe is I get better directions. Now ladies, you might not know this, but we men do not like to stop and ask for directions. I even changed my Siri GPS voice to some Australian man because I don’t want to hear female Siri telling me where to go. Now when I ask my phone, “How do I get to Chattanooga?” this outback man says, “Oh, just start driving mate. You’ll figure it out.”
But sometimes, spiritually, just trying to figure it out is not good enough. I am often reminded to observe, to watch, to look and see, and from there get better directions about the next steps. Isaiah says to us, if we will get quiet and observe, our eyes will see the teacher and our hears will “hear a voice saying, ‘this is the way, walk in it.’” (Isaiah 30:21) Moses said, “Lord, if Your Presence doesn’t go with me (in other words, if I can’t observe what you are doing) I will not take one more step.” (Exodus 33:15)
Listen, I am all about action Jakson. I believe God calls us to be doers. To get busy. To touch and pick up and taste and run. We are supposed TAKE the land. But before we go running off half-cocked, or worse, shrink back in fear, it might be good to observe, to stop and see and hear what God is doing. When I do that I don’t hear Him saying as often, “Mike, put that down and be careful with that.”
Quiet time, devos, alone with God, whatever you call it, there is a very beneficial and very necessary time in my walk with God. It is that time to “be still and know,” to quiet my Spirit, and to observe that God is good. And that He is at work for me. Take a look. You might be surprised at what you see.