I sit in the cool basement, surrounded by piles of sorted laundry waiting optimistically to be washed. Before me are a blue basket and two boys contemplating the hot wheel cars located within.
“What about this one?” I suggest, holding out a silver motorcycle. The boys look at each other and at the motorcycle.
“That’s yours,” Stinky tells Bubs.
“I know,” Bubs replies. He looks at it a minute longer. “We can give that one away,” he decides. I put it in the box next to me.
The next car I pull out belongs to Stinky. Although it’s possible he has never played with it before, he is struggling to give it up. I remind him that Christmas is coming, that Grandpa will probably give them a car next time he sees them, that there is a big pile of very similar cars next to him. But he can’t do it. And because this is supposed to be giving– not grudgingly or of necessity– I do not force the issue.
In the end I have a box half-full of miscellaneous odds and ends. They are selling their toys to buy a toy for a Christmas project at Bubba’s school. I’m not sure if they can make enough money selling these things to buy anything, but it’s a start.
Later, my hands sticky with juice as I make apple crisp, I pray.
Lord, give my children generous hearts. Help them see the joy and blessing that comes from giving– especially sacrificial giving. Let me be an example of letting go of my own things in order to bless others.
This will not come naturally. My prayer for my children, however, is that they will gain an understanding of the way God blesses cheerful giving. That as we go into December, month of gifts piled upon gifts, they will have changed hearts– hearts that delight in giving.
It does not come naturally to me either. I am selfish, and lazy, and weak.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. (2 Corinthians 12:9)
We will boast in our weakness, because through it God can be seen and glorified by a world so desperately in need of a Savior.
How we gave today
Time: I spent my “me time” this evening making a special dessert for my family, and praying for them.
Treasures: The boys and I went through their toys and chose things to sell in order to have money to buy a Christmas gift for a needy child.
Blessings God gave today
1. Constant reminders of His strength being perfect in my weakness
2. Sweet fellowship with Him
3. Seeing my son truly broken before the Lord over something he said to his daddy. Seeing him come to a place of confession, forgiveness, restoration. (And tickles).
4. A gift from my secret prayer partner at church– a candle and some chocolate!
Before I close (which I really need to do!), I want to share some of the precious truths that God placed before me today.
6For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,”[amade his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. 7But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 16Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (From 2 Corinthians 4)
10That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (From 2 Corinthians 12)
This verse has been convicting me as I realize how many times a day I choose to neglect my responsibilities:
17Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins. (From James 4)
I am going to take any “I should really . . .” moments as prompting from the Holy Spirit this month to do whatever I should really do to bless others.
Finally, the verses my sons and I will be memorizing this week:
6Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 9As it is written:
“He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.” 10Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. 11You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. (From 2 Corinthians 9)
Hmmm. Maybe I won’t make them memorize quite all of that. 🙂