The kids on the streets of Makati in the Philippines were actively hawking their wares, mostly strands of flowers. While I did not see them so much during the hot days, late at nights they dominated certain blocks. They were equally aggressive, politely pushy, and engaging. They wanted and needed to see you their wares.
I was initially caught off guard by how easily they invaded my space. From my experience in other countries, kids of a similar age and situation were deferential. While polite, these kids were anything but! They knew their boundaries and they were going to push them to the limits. There understood what if they made a sale, that I would provide them money. Regardless of the usefulness or need, their objective was to have been me give them money.
Ironically, I often live like these kids. I want a specific outcome. So I push, prod, and pull, trying to get it! We rationalize our actions, often resorting to simple metaphors. One author put it this way; “Farmers plow and thresh expecting something when the crop comes in. So if we have planted spiritual seed among you, is it out of line to expect a meal or two from you?” (1 Corinthians 9.11)
The God I know does something differently. Divinity offers us the ultimate gifts of love, compassion, and restoration. While much is hoped for, nothing is expected in return. We have the freedom to choose our destiny. We can accept or reject.
I still find it odd to do something with no hope of a return. I know it is God-line. I also know that it is not natural. Life revolves around giving, taking, sharing, and asking. Everything is connected. Everything it seems, except God. God is willing to give, hopefully of a return, and yet expects nothing.
I often hear a calling to be more God-like. Makati’s kids reminded me that life is always connected. God offers us the chance to give without expecting something in return. Our currencies are compassion, mercy, and acceptance into a community.