Acorns From Oakes

Seeing With Our Father's Eyes

Do I Have To?

It was bedtime, the wife asked her husband to give her a goodnight kiss. He light-heartedly responded, “Do I have to?” She quipped, “Yes, you have to…but not that kind of have to!” You know what she meant, don’t you?

Does the mother of the infant child have to stay up during the watches of the night when her baby is ill and running a fever? Yes…she has to…but not that kind of “have to.” When one’s friend receives tough news, does he have to go to be with him? Yes…he has to…but not that kind of “have to.” When your child is to receive an honor at some ceremony, do you have to change your schedule, get all dressed up and go sit through it all? Yes…you have to…but not that kind of “have to.” And when your mother or your father experiences the dreaded downward spiral of old age and weakening health, do you have to go…do you have to witness the indignities…do you have to bathe, feed and comfort them as best you are able…do you have to oppose them for their own good? Yes…you do have to…but not that kind of “have to.”

The proper kind of “have to” arises from within one’s own heart…out of a supply put there by Another. Not because people are expecting something of us. Not because we will feel bad if we don’t step in. Not because our reputation will suffer if we are a no-show. No. We move under the compulsion of a heart full of love. If our beloved suffer, we will show up, even at the cost of tears and toil and leaving our comfort zone, simply because we can do no other. And how long will we stay? How much will we do? We don’t think that way. Love doesn’t waste time calculating hours and cost and levels of commitment. It gives no thought as to how it can pull out at an opportune time and be done with the hardship. It just can’t think that way. Do we really have to cry, to pray, to exhaust ourselves, to get messy, to speak, to be frustrated, to question, to hurt deep down and then wake up to another day of the same? Yes…we have to…but not that kind of “have to.”

Did our Lord have to come down from His glory, live out the wonderful story and pour out His blood to redeem us? Yes…He had to…but not that kind of “have to.” His love left Him no choice…no choice that His great heart could even consider.

Do I have to go to church? Do I have to give of my means? Do I have to sing? To pray? To read? To share? To listen? To be devoted to others? To weep and rejoice? To confess and repent? To struggle with sin? To walk in His steps? To grow? To care? To love? 

Well…what do you think?

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8 thoughts on “Do I Have To?

  1. Thanks for leading us thru these thoughts. If we love enough we are going to do things because we “We Have To”. We are compelled like our God was compelled and purposed from the beginning a better life after this one if we listen to him. We are compelled to things we have to do because of what you said Doug. The Love is too Great to stop us. The way people have done for us and been so good to us all their lives can’t stop us from doing what we can for them. Even with the bumps in the road thru life and they are going to be “You just Have to” and not that kind of Have to.
    You just Love so Much you have to do what you can and more if that be possible.

    I see that in what God wanted His Son to do for us because His Love was so Great for us. God knew the future of the best possible thing he could give us after death.
    He gave us the best possible love not because he just had to but he had to because
    He loved us with the Greatest Love. But he did have to give his Only Begotten Son.
    I think I get this more as I grow older Doug. Thanks for helping me see better.

    • oakesclan on said:

      It is the inner compulsion that really sustains our growth, service and worship. People of good heart…people in whom God has provided a good heart transplant, spiritually speaking…can’t help but be lost in wonder, love and praise over all He’s done and is doing for them. It’s no drudgery to them to come to worship and serve. No. It’s a meeting of lovers between which they count the moments until togetherness. It’s beautiful.

  2. Art Lynch on said:

    Thanks, Doug. That blessed me today.

  3. It is so true that love compels us to have to do things (some things we might rather avoid) for the sake of the one that is loved. It is not always easy or not always fun, but we simply cannot do any differently!

    Thank you for the reminder that Jesus had to come live and die for me…He simply could not have acted any other way! That brings to mind the story of the leper that Jesus touched. He didn’t HAVE TO touch him to heal him, but He reached out and put His hand on the unclean man anyway. Don’t you know that man’s heart nearly burst with love for the first person to touch him in so long?!

    God bless you Doug during these upcoming holidays…safe travel for you and your loved ones!! Be safe!

    • oakesclan on said:

      And when our beloved need us, the last thing we think about is whether it will be enjoyable for us, isn’t it? We are thinking of them. We are bleeding for them. We must get there for them…even if it is only to stand watch. We must be sure they know we came. We must try one more time to cause them to know that they are so loved by us…that there’s nothing, within our power, that we wouldn’t do for them. If we can only get a brief look of recognition, a glimmer of a smile, a blink of an eye…that’s enough for us…enough to keep us holding on…hanging in…never giving up…however long it takes.

      I hope your holidays are bright too, Sherry. I love you. And I’m glad for the precious people in your life that they have someone like you to love them so.

  4. Thanks, Doug.

    By going to church and talking to others, I see now there is a lot of have to’s that I need to do.

    • oakesclan on said:

      Yes, Ray. I can’t tell you how much I’ve learned and how often I’ve been inspired by the examples of people of faith I’ve been privileged to know across the years of my life’s journey. And now, I’m privileged to watch your faith too. And I thank God for that…and for you.

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