“Gimme what I need, not what I ask for!” I cannot tell you how often I heard that remark from a stressed out surgeon during my many years of working in the operating room. That’s when they ask for the wrong thing at the wrong time. A good “scrub” knows ahead of the game when that happens – tuning into what is needed, and delivering.
Sometimes it’s said in frustration due to faulty anticipation on the scrub’s part to hand over the correct tools – which are often asked for non verbally by gesture – a simple open hand. The object of the game is to anticipate the next step in the surgical procedure and have the proper instrument ready for your surgeon’s hand before it’s needed. That helps him maintain his focus.
Sometimes it was said in jest, as a backhanded sort of compliment, when you’ve managed to combine knowledge and mastery of the “brutal craft” with a dash of mind reading. It’s their way of saying, as you see the smile behind the mask and the twinkling eye, “Well done! How did you know I needed that instrument at this moment?”
After awhile, when you’ve seen every surgical procedure known to man hundreds of times over, for years on end, the second scenario becomes second nature and seems largely like repetitive motion. The first scenario occurs in the beginnings of one’s career, in the training phases, or when new procedures with new technologies arrive in your space.
What has this to do with the season of giving and getting? Well, it’s just one form of “Gimme” that I can personally attest to. The giver of what’s needed realizes that a life may be at stake if you don’t come through with the right tool at the right time.
Here’s another form of the Gimmes: closets and drawers full of stuff that other people feel obligated to give you when you’re not asking for it. This isn’t necessarily a gimme on the part of the recipient, so much as guilt operating in the giver.
There’s a lot of guilt out there, especially during the holly daze, whether we recognize it or not. Just because it’s Christmas or some other “occasion” some feel that gifts must be given.
It’s an especially effective tool to trigger guilt programming by inserting that, since it’s Jesus’ birthday, well, you certainly do not want to miss this opportunity to give and get, do you? Say what? [For some reason Revelation 18 comes to mind.]
There seems to be something about this kind of giving which goes back a long, long way. Tribes and cultures appeased the gods, or invoked their favor through giving, ritual, and sacrifice.
This is seen in the Bible as well. Blood sacrifice was especially effective. At least that’s what priests and priestcraft had going for them. You sin? No problem – just buy a lamb or a little bird from us and sacrifice it. Voila! You’re guilt free and your sin is washed away.
However, the prophets for the most part took issue with “the system”. They were far more interested in people knowing God than giving Him what He wasn’t asking for!
Prophets were passionate about a direct relationship with the Lord. They put the finger on the sacrificial system, which did nothing for the spiritual enhancement or understanding of Souls, nor did it help them to know the Love of God which had the power to transform them. The prophets wanted what God wanted for the people. So did Jesus Christ. They cried out for repentance!
What did God ask for? What did He want from His people? What does He still want?
He didn’t say, “Gimme, gimme, gimme blood sacrifices of goats, bulls, and lambs!” He didn’t ask for ritual and obligation.
Rather, per Romans 12:1 – “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service”.
What’s required was recorded by the Psalmist, very simply – in Psalm 51:17. “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.”
He wanted the right “tool” at the right time to get the job done right. That tool is us in our entirety, continually surrendering to His loving will and the Holy Spirit, which alone can transform and “save” us – so that this sorry world can see the Father by seeing and experiencing His Love through us.
Jesus put it this way, that we should love the Lord with our whole heart, soul, strength, and mind and our neighbor as ourself [also per Deuteronomy 11:13]. Mark 12:33 reiterates and encapsulates this very well – “And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbor as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
It’s essentially like asking your child to go and clean his room. The next thing you know he’s outside weeding the garden. He’s pulled up most of the vegetables and left the weeds. Moreover, his room is still a mess.
You ask, “Johnny, why are you weeding the garden?” He replies, “I thought you might like it if I do that for you.”
You remind him, “But Johnny, I asked you to clean your room. If I wanted you to weed the garden, I’d have asked you to do that. Don’t you understand? I want you to gimme what I asked for, not what you want to substitute for it…”
Yet isn’t this how we relate to our Heavenly Father? He asks us for our heart, soul, strength, and mind – so that these may be under Good Orderly Direction. He’s not asking for what we think he wants, according to the doctrines and traditions of men. He doesn’t want substitutes and sacrifices! He wants us restored to Him.
The challenge is to surrender our own will to His, listen, hear, develop sensitivity and insight toward others, and above all a willingness to give God what HE asks for, not what we want to give, or what someone else “obligates” us – through traditions of men – to give.
The old children’s carol comes to mind:
“What can I give Him, small as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I’d give Him a lamb;
if I were a wise man, I’d do my part;
What can I give Him? I’ll give Him my heart!