A father tells his 12 year old to go into the back yard and a remove a tree stump. The boy, eager to show his dad how he can master this manly task, runs out and begins pushing on the stump with all his might. After about twenty minutes of huffing and puffing, the stump hasn’t budged.
The boy turns to realize his dad has been outside watching him. Embarrassed, he tells him, “I’m sorry Dad, I can’t do it.”
His Dad just smiles and says, “Son, give it everything you’ve got!”
Now the boy, more determined than ever, kicks, pulls, takes running starts, and pushes and pushes and pushes until his arms are limp. Collapsing with exhaustion, the boy tells his father, between heavy breaths, “I can’t do it.”
His father looks at him and says, “Give it everything you’ve got!”
The boy picks himself up and decides to give it one last try but after 30 more minutes of grueling, the stump is no more loose then when he started. Now he is entirely spent. He sits on the stump and looks up at his dad. ” I’m sorry Dad. I gave it everything. I really did. It just wasn’t enough.”
The father looks at the son, smiles and says, “You didn’t give it everything you have, son. Because you never once asked me for help.”
This is one my dad likes to tell. I have no idea where he got it so, if you know, tell me. Too often in life, we let our capabilities be defined by our own strengths and weaknesses. This parable reminds us of the untapped resources we have in the people around us and, most importantly, in our Heavenly Father. Ask any wise old saint and they will tell you: the times they struggled most in life were the times they refused God’s help. As the old hymn says:
Oh, what peace we often forfeit,
Oh, what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer!”
Whoever has ears to hear, Let them hear!