“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ (Matthew 25:40)
I know … I know! We are not to compare ourselves to others , but as I was getting dressed for work this morning and listening to the KLOVE DJs share the story of giving away the one hundred millionth Operation Christmas box to a little five year old girl, I couldn’t help but compare myself to this wee one. I ached to have a heart like hers as the DJ explained the excitement and glee that surrounded the opening of the box by the little girl. As she opened her box, her excitement grew as she pulled out the jump rope. Can’t you see her smiling face from here? Smiling from ear to ear with perhaps even a giggle here and there?
And next, she reached in and pulled out a piece of chocolate candy. She gently un-wrapped the chocolate and placed it in her mouth. Amanda Carroll, KLOVE’s DJ once again described the expression of the little girl’s face as she let the piece of chocolate melt in her mouth! I can only imagine the expression and experience of this little one as it melted away. Her first taste of chocolate ever! That alone makes me this chocoholic smile. How about you?
The little girl then reached back into the box and picked out yet another piece of chocolate. And all those watching were so sure that she was going to un-wrap the second piece of candy and devour it. But to all of their surprise, the little one un-wrapped the second piece of chocolate and gave it to her little brother who was standing by her side.
The story brought tears to my eyes and hurt to my heart as I listened and reflected on the heart of this little five year old. A five year old – living in poverty – not knowing and probably never hearing of the love of Jesus until she received the box – and definitely never hearing the story of Mary of Bethany – the sister of Martha and Lazarus – but both with so much in common.
“While he [Jesus] was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head.
Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, “Why this waste of perfume? 5 It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages and the money given to the poor.” And they rebuked her harshly.
“Leave her alone,” said Jesus. “Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me. She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial. Truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.” (Mark 14: 3-9, NIV)
So yes, I did compare myself to these two and I do desire to have a heart like theirs – a heart like Jesus. As I reflect back to the action of the little girl and Mary, I was reminded of the actions of Jesus at Calvary, and these words stood out – THEY GAVE WHAT THEY COULD!
The little girl – she gave her chocolate. Mary of Bethany – she gave her most expensive possession, a bottle of perfume as she bathed the feet of Jesus with it and prepared His body for burial. Jesus – He gave His very life so that we might have eternal life.
Three different gifts sacrificed by three different people. They gave out of their love for others . . . they gave their best at the time . . . they gave without complaining . . . they gave sacrificially. . . THEY GAVE WHAT THEY COULD.
Just last week, I received an email from one of my favorite non-profit faith based organizations asking for a donation to assist with some expenses. I wish I could tell you that I gave for the same reasons as the little girl, Mary and Jesus did. But I can’t – because I didn’t.
I did give – but I should have given two months prior when God prompted me to give. I did give – but I didn’t give without complaining. It took a lot of prayer and some heavy duty heart work before I said “yes” to letting go of my grip on my checking account and my pride as my feelings had been hurt prior to the ask. And I hadn’t truly forgiven. I did give – but I didn’t give sacrificially. I gave what was comfortable – I DIDN’T GIVE ALL THAT I COULD!
I didn’t trust God with what He had given me and when He had given it to me. I didn’t trust God to provide for my future needs. But the worst part; I didn’t obey God.
I don’t know about you, but I am ready for some serious heart surgery. I’m ready for a heart transformation. I’m ready to live out the following verses in my heart and in my life; “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. (2 Corin. 9: 7-8)
Won’t you join me in my quest for a heart like His – a heart like Jesus?
Lord, thank you for the gift of forgiveness – not only yours – but the gift of forgiveness from others. Cause me to be a cheerful and generous giver of the gifts that you’ve given me – whether it is resources, talents or gifts. Cause me to give out of my love for you and for others. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
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