In the last month, two different people have asked me to do them a favor. (They didn’t ask for breakdancing lessons. People don’t have to ask me for that. You watch me just walk across a crowded room, and you’re already better at breakdancing. Bottom line.)
These favors were unique because they both name dropped God in order to convince me to say yes.
They were subtle about it too.
Neither one of them said, “Will you help me finish this project? God wants you to.”
Nobody is ever that straightforward. It was more, “Hey, you know, God would probably want you to do this. For him. Not me. I don’t really even care. God does though. And he’s watching.”
The funny thing is, neither task they were trying to assign me had anything to do with God. Yes, all things have to do with God. He’s everywhere. But does God really need me to lend you a pair of running sneakers? Is that somehow kingdom work? I have my doubts, but maybe.
This is whack because when someone employs this technique they automatically side with God and leave you satan’s team. (Don’t act like that lowercase “s” is a typo. That’s me giving him the middle finger of grammar.)
“I’m with God on this one. If you don’t want to help me, I can only assume that you’re riding shotgun with the devil. What’s that like?”
In order to prevent situations like this, here is what I am proposing:
When someone asks you to do something that is clearly for them, and not even remotely related to a mandate from the Alpha and Omega, I want you to do the following:
1. Ask them, “Did God tell you to tell me that?”
Audibly. Did God audibly speak to you, via a burning bush or donkey, and tell you that I need to babysit your ferret while you’re out of town?
2. Tell them you’ll “pray about it.”
For centuries, Christians have been using this as a stall tactic. “How big and or fast is your ferret? I’ll pray about it.”
3. Say you want to pray together about it right now.
We gonna do this? We going to spiritualize your favor request? I’ll see your “God name drop” and start a prayer circle right here. Right now. Two men enter. One man leaves.
4. Hold hands.
Oh boy, the awkwardness of this moment just took a Huey Lewis Back to the Future size leap! Interlink digits to amp the moment even more.
5. Add a tambourine.
Granted, this tip requires you to carry around a tambourine (or handbell) that you play in order to add a little worship music to the moment, but it’s worth it.
Eventually your friend will say, “Whoa, whoa, whoa. Why are we turning this into a church service? I’m just asking you for a favor.” At which point you can say “Exactly.”
If they don’t understand the deft reversal you pulled, hit them over the head with the tambourine and run. It’s less graceful but it works in a pinch.
Has someone ever thrown the “God card” on you when asking you to do something for them?