Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Childlike Gifts




 
When I was a child, and the offering plate was making its way towards us, my mom would hand me a dollar from her purse, and I would put it in.  I'm sure, when I was young, I was quite proud to do this.

As I grew, it became a little awkward. “Was it really a gift for God if it wasn't at my own expense?” I wondered. I knew that God loved a cheerful giver, but shouldn't the giver have to make some sort of sacrifice for the gift to count?

Soon I grew big enough to have my own job and my own money. I could put my own dollar in the plate, and I felt better about it, knowing it was the fruits of my labor that I had given to the Lord.

As I joined the workforce, I became responsible, competent, and proud.  I received wages as my due, not a mere handout from my ever-giving mother.  The list of things that I understood to be mine, by right, grew longer.  And I shared my wealth with God, a dollar here and a dollar there, and with good cheer. I was such a big girl.

Then, I became a mother. And I felt small again.  Surrounded by needs, and feeling only my lack, I saw myself as unable to fill all the holes around me. I could not imagine ever finishing this “job,” or doing it so well that I had a credit in my account at the end of the day. On top of this, was I expected to have something left over for God, too? Impossible.
           
            And yet, as I tearfully questioned him in the rocking chair, he gently asked me, “Daughter, what do you have that you did not receive?”  And I began to see. It was all grace: the energy to work, and the wages collected; the gift of marriage and children; the gift of service where I am right now. My hands doing dishes—even the dishes are grace.

Again, I am that child, whose empty hands receive what she needs.  He provides for myself and my family until we are full and running over. He is the cheerful giver.  He gives to me, and I turn around and give back to Him what he has given.

As the years pass, I feel less like a big girl.  My sacrifices, my efforts, my pride, my rights- these are nothing compared to the love of God in Christ. I receive what He gives, and He gives generously.  Though my muddy fingers stain His perfect gifts, He washes the stains with the blood of Christ, and He covers me in His righteousness.  He receives my feeble offerings of His gifts back to Him, and He calls me good.

Thanks be to God for this indescribable gift.
2 Corinthians 9:15




We give Thee but Thine own,
Whate’er the gift may be;
All that we have is Thine alone,
A trust, O Lord, from Thee.

May we Thy bounties thus
As stewards true receive,
And gladly, as Thou blessest us,
To Thee our firstfruits give.

O hearts are bruised and dead,
And homes are bare and cold,
And lambs for whom the Shepherd bled
Are straying from the fold.

To comfort and to bless,
To find a balm for woe,
To tend the lone and fatherless
Is angels’ work below.

The captive to release,
To God the lost to bring,
To teach the way of life and peace—
It is a Christ-like thing.

And we believe Thy Word,
Though dim our faith may be;
Whate’er for Thine we do, O Lord,
We do it unto Thee.



1 comment:

  1. It's learning humility like this that helps me to begin to understand the verse "she shall be saved in childbearing". I'm the child, empty and He gives all. My pride hurts because of that and my flesh is angered, but He is full of mercy.

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