How many times have we heard a child refuse to do something, with arms crossed defiantly stating his or her stubbornness, ‘Make Me’? We find in scripture several statements of ‘Make Me’; however, it is in a spirit of contrition and submission that serves as the backdrop of this plea.
21 And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me.
19 And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.
There are so many wonderful nuggets of truth in the parable of the “Prodigal Son” that has been a favorite of preacher and pew for generations; however, I simply ask that you focus on the two differing attitudes in the younger son. The first is ‘give me’, while the second is ‘make me’.
‘Give me’ (often pronounced ‘gimme’) in most cases is a cry of selfishness and the rude taking for granted what someone else has worked for. Consider this request through different lenses for a moment. In the context of this story and several others in scripture this is a statement of desire of what has been promised.
Look at Abram’s discussion with God in Genesis 15 for a moment. Genesis 15:1-2, ‘After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward. 2 And Abram said, Lord GOD, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless.’
Following this conversation God shows Abram the sand of the sea and the stars in the heaven as word pictures of His promise – then changes his name. ‘Give me’ is the statement of desire to have what God has promised us.
In Joshua 14:12 is Caleb’s classic request, ‘Give me this mountain.’ His case was simply stated and recorded in scripture. “Moses said I could have it, I can still conquer the inhabitants; let me have what has been promised to me.” The timing was impeccable on Caleb’s part. They had wandered in the wilderness, conquered Jericho, had successful major military campaigns; now was the time that they were assigning land. There is a powerful truth in asking for what He has promised to us at the right time. The Bible records, ‘Ye have not, because ye ask not.’ (James 4:2).
In Jesus’ conversation with the woman at the well (John 4) He was telling her about the living water that if she had she would never thirst again. Her request was understandable, ‘give me this water.’ There was an issue in her life that was a ‘make me’ issue that had to be dealt with first. Jesus responded to her with ‘bring your husband’. This led to an acknowledging of the sin. O, what tremendous release there is in confession!
With the parable commonly called ‘The Prodigal Son’ we see a transformation in the attitude of the son. ‘Gimme!’ is replaced with ‘Make me.’ The assumption can be made that the son knew and had been promised, if you will, a large inheritance. This leads to the request for what this son squanders, ‘Give me what is mine.’ Why would the father give the inheritance to his son prematurely? Could it be that the ‘Gimme’ was granted in order to lead to the ‘make me’ attitude shift. The father in the story was looking – he did see his son afar off and went running to him.
Job 13:20-23 20 Only do not two things unto me: then will I not hide myself from thee. 21 Withdraw thine hand far from me: and let not thy dread make me afraid. 22 Then call thou, and I will answer: or let me speak, and answer thou me. 23 How many are mine iniquities and sins? make me to know my transgression and my sin.
We see Job’s request of make me was a request stemming from the posture of repentance. We see this also in Psalm 51, David’s psalm of repentance after his sin with Bathsheba and Uriah. David cries in his repentance, ‘make me to know wisdom.’ It is a powerful thing to realize the lack of ability and wisdom in ourselves to make right choices with out Him performing an ‘Extreme Make-Me-Over’.
Psalm 119 hosts words to the cries of ‘make me’. Verses 25 – 27 record, ’25 My soul cleaveth unto the dust: quicken thou me according to thy word. 26 I have declared my ways, and thou heardest me: teach me thy statutes. 27 Make me to understand the way of thy precepts: so shall I talk of thy wondrous works.’ Notice the posture, ‘cleaving to the dust.’ Then in verses 33 – 40 notice the verbs, ‘teach me, give me, make me, incline to me, turn away mine eyes, revive me, establish your word, and turn away my reproach’. ‘Make me’ is a plea from the posture of humility, submission, even servanthood.”
Even though the fig tree won’t blossom and there won’t be any herd in the stall; Habakkuk says; ‘Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The LORD God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds’ feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places.’ (Hab 3:17-19) The power of this posture and the ‘Making Process’ of God is that when He is done, it doesn’t mean defeat – it means victory!
There is a right time and place for all that God will ‘Give me’. Even Proverbs 8 lets us know that for every purpose there is time and judgment. I don’t want to get hung up on the ‘Gimmes’. I want to focus on ‘Make Me’. Make me to know your wisdom, make me to lie down in green pastures, make me clean (Mat 8:2) – make me as one of your servants, Father!
Paul Giertz is the Pastors in Athens, Ohio.