Thursday, June 20, 2013
Giving Our Best
Three months ago, as I got ready for our first Vacation Bible School meeting of the year, I was digging through my cupboards for canned food. I had decided that at each of our meetings, we should support a local organization, and so this meeting would include a collection of goods for the food bank.
What I realized as I hunted for the perfect food to bring, was that I really wasn't hunting for the "perfect" food. I was hunting for the food that we don't eat. The food my family doesn't like. The food that was outdated. In other words, the food that I would otherwise throw away.
Now, that was interesting. And convicting. I was about to lead a meeting of volunteers and encourage them to give their best to the kids of our community, and I was hung up on not parting with a can of food unless it was of no value to me.
A while back, I was reading on the topic of generosity within the church. The writer made the point that people will go to the bank and ask, "How much can I afford?" when it comes to a home mortgage or car payment. And yet, when they go to church, they ask, "How much do I have to give?" And isn't that the truth? We want to know how much we can have for ourselves, and how little we can give away while still feeling like we're being generous.
There I was teetering on the kitchen counter, digging in the very back of the top shelf of the cupboard...doing the same thing.
It's funny how God puts certain things on our heart and He just impresses them there so that we'll pay good attention to what He's telling us. That's the way I feel about that day. He hasn't allowed me to stop thinking about it. And because my memory is awful...and yet those thoughts are still on my mind...I REALLY know He is telling me to listen up. I don't need to hold tight to "things"; I need to let them go and let Him provide.
We all have "things" we don't want to sacrifice. Time, money, our possessions...it's easy to forget they aren't really ours in the first place. Vacation Bible School starts in 4 days, and because I lead a large group of volunteers, I get to see many who sacrifice for the cause, and also those who don't. Maybe God is telling me to think about my own lack of sacrifice when I begin to wonder why this person or that person doesn't give more. We certainly aren't called to look outward and judge what others are giving. We are called to look inward and evaluate our own generosity.
As our team prepares to teach hundreds of children about God's love for them, I'm hopeful that we will come together to serve with a true & selfless spirit of giving; one where we stop asking how much we have to give and start asking how much we can give.
We're all called to reach into our hearts, and our cupboards, and offer up the good stuff we have. Because we're not called to give of our junk...our leftovers...those things that are easy to part with. We're called to give of our best.