Last night I was driving to the store listening to the radio and heard an ad to promote a Toys for Tots campaign somewhere in the B’ham area. It was a rather typical promotion, asking for people to contribute to the cause of helping disadvantaged kids get presents for Christmas … certainly not a bad program. But at the end of the ad was the statement, “Santa needs your help.” My first impulse and response was, “No he doesn’t, he’s Santa.” Of course, after pondering it for a few more seconds I remembered Santa isn’t real … duh! But initially, I literally was dumbfounded that the advertisement would say something so dumb. Yep, I’m a pastor, believe in the Bible and everything, and I still had an initial shock hearing that Santa doesn’t need my help. I mean, who wants to believe in a Santa that needs our help?
But, of course, when it comes to our belief about God we’re not so opposed to believing He needs our help. I would even go far to say that the default view of God in the USA is that He does require our help, that we actually do contribute to our own salvation, that God is a “gentleman” and would not do anything without our invitation, permission, and cooperation. We’ve been told it’s dangerous to believe in a God who does as He pleases, who doesn’t need anything from us, who is completely sovereign and independent.
But consider God’s Word as He speaks about this very matter.
Acts 17:24-25 - The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything.
Psalm 115:3 - Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases.
Psalm 135:6 - Whatever the Lord pleases, he does, in heaven and on earth, in the seas and all deeps.
These verses give us confidence that God is sovereign, omnipotent, self-sufficient, eternal, infinite, lacking nothing, and doesn’t need our help.
Does this really matter? Who cares what we think about God as long as we’re trying to do the right thing. A.W. Tozer in The Knowledge of the Holy says it well -
What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.
The history of mankind will probably show that no people has ever risen above its religion, and man’s spiritual history will positively demonstrate that no religion has ever been greater than its idea of God. Worship is pure or base as the worshiper entertains high or low thoughts of God.
For this reason the gravest question before the Church is always God Himself, and the most portentous fact about any man is not what he at a given time may say or do, but what he in his deep heart conceives God to be like.
We tend by a secret law of the soul to move toward our mental image of God. This is true not only of the individual Christian, but of the company of Christians that composes the Church. Always the most revealing thing about the Church is her idea of God.But the same Bible also reminds us that we’re to be obedient and have the privilege to participate in HIs glorious, purposeful, and redemptive plan. It’s not that God needs my help, but that He graciously involves us in His work.
A God who needs me, who lacks something apart from me, that His glory hinges on me, who is dependent on me, isn’t really much of a God. But I sure do need Him, truly lack everything apart from Him, and am completely dependent on Him. So while it’s perfectly acceptable to be Santa’s helper over the next few weeks, let’s not think or live as if God is somehow lacking unless we help Him.