Monday, October 08, 2007

Giving Him all you've got

Grand Sweep Daily Reading: Mark 10, 11, 12

Mark 10:17-22 (NIV)

17 As Jesus started on His way, a man ran up to Him and fell on his knees before Him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 18 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good – except God alone. 19 You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, do not commit adultery; do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honor your father and mother.’” 20 “Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.” 21 Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” He said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” 22 At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.

Mark 12:41-44 (NIV)

41 Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. 42 But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny. 43 Calling His disciples to him, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. 44 They gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything – all she had to live on.”

Good morning!

I learned a valuable life lesson simply by observing my father work around the house. He was meticulous and he was a perfectionist. Nothing less than your very best effort would do. He expected it not only of his family, but of himself. Dad literally threw himself into any job he took on, and he didn’t stop until the project was completed. Every task had to be done just right. One day, my father decided to install a glass shower stall in the bathroom. He went to Central Hardware and purchased the kit. It never seemed to fail – my father always got home and didn’t find everything he needed in the carton. This made him furious. I will never forget the explicatives rolling out of his mouth as he worked to finish the insert that evening. I think he stayed up most of the night finishing the job so that we could all get showers in the morning before school.

Have you ever given your all to the task at hand? When I go to work each morning, I lay aside my daily life and focus on the projects I have to complete. Sometimes, it seems almost impossible to keep up with the flow of incoming work. Still, I know I can do it, one project at a time. At the end of each day, I can leave there, knowing I put forth my very best effort. When I was a child, I studied piano and violin through most of my formative years. I literally spent hours practicing music each day. It became a form of self-expression. Most of my friends hated having to sit down for thirty minutes and practice each day. I would have played all afternoon and evening if my parents had allowed it. I loved working hard at making music. For me, spending time in preparation was the best part of any recital or school program. I preferred practicing to performance, and I feel that way, even today.

Jesus sets the bar at giving His all. On two separate occasions, he used life examples of two people, a rich young man, and a poor widow, to illustrate what it means to give your all in faith to God. When I look in the mirror of Holy Scripture, there are times when I believe I resemble the rich young ruler, more so than the poor widow. I would spend time with the Lord in prayer and study all day long, if my daily schedule permitted it. Still, I find myself throwing a few minutes here, and a few minutes there to my daily faith walk. It is never enough, and I know it. When the collection is taken in church on Sunday, I wonder how God views the gift I place in the plate. Would He see my gift as a token offering, or solid evidence that I am willing to give Him everything I’ve got? When the young man asked what he must do to inherit eternal life, Jesus looked on him and loved him. This, for me, is the hope I hold onto. Isn’t it just like the Lord to know our hearts even better than we know ourselves? When Jesus sees the desire in my heart and the longing I have to follow Him, I pray He looks on me with love. No matter how much I give, it will never be enough to repay Him for His gift of salvation to me. I know this. Thank God for Jesus Christ and His amazing, saving grace. It is a blessing that I cannot earn my way into God’s holy presence. Jesus loved the poor widow too; not because she gave less than a penny to the temple treasury, but that she gave everything she had and He knew it.

God continues to work on my heart, as I struggle daily with the meaning of giving my all. I believe it begins with the heart-felt desire to want to give everything I’ve got to the Lord. He can take a mustard seed offering, like the widow’s mite, and multiply it for kingdom work. God can take the longings of a rich young ruler and give him the grace to let go of his material wealth to help feed the hungry and share the Good News with a dying world. Jesus loves them, just like He loves you and me.

Today, I’m asking the Lord to help me give Him everything I’ve got with a grateful and happy heart. He deserves my very best effort. How will you choose to honor the One who has literally saved your life from the pit?

Grace and peace,

Deb Spaulding

Faith UMC - St. Charles, MO

Pray for: the desire to give Him your all. When you look in the mirror of His Word, do you resemble the poor widow, or the rich young ruler? How will you seek to serve the Lord today?


© Copyright 2007, Deb Spaulding

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