"I will not," the son replied; but later he experienced a change of heart, and went to the fields to work.
Then the father said to the younger son: "Go into the fields as well."
Immediately he answered: "I will." But he remained at home, and ignored his father's words.
Which of these two sons fulfilled their father's request?"
"Are you the fairy that herds the bees?" he asked, going down to his knees on the green shore of the tulip-bed.
"I'm not a fairy," answered the little creature.
"How do you know that?"
"It would become you better to ask how you are to know it."
"You've just told me."
"Yes. But what's the use of knowing a thing only because you're told it?"
(from The Back Of The North Wind, by George MacDonald)
On the way out to a meeting I asked one of my sons to pick up some tools I'd left from working on a vehicle. I got home later that night...it wasn't until the morning that I discovered that half the tools were still laying outside.
I called the boy down to inquire why he'd only completed half the job. "I spoke in simple English words, son, did you not understand what I wanted you to do?" "Yes," he replied. "Then why are there still tools out?" "I was angry that you wanted me to do it," he sheepishly confessed.
How much of our understanding of things has as much to do with our will as it does with our mental capacity?
How much of what God commands us to do has as much to do with accomplishing something as it has to do with teaching us His ways?
"Diamond learned to drive all the sooner that he had been accustomed to do what he was told, and could obey the smallest hint in a moment. Nothing helps one to get on like that. Some people don't know how to do what they are told; they have not been used to it, and they neither understand quickly nor are able to turn what they do understand into action quickly. With an obedient mind one learns the rights of things fast enough; for it is the law of the universe, and to obey is to understand." (Ibid)