Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Scope of my Scoop

I accidentally left the pitcher I use to scoop birdseed in the bag of bug-infested sunflower seeds I threw away yesterday. For a minute I considered digging it out of the trash, which at that moment was sitting out on the side of the road, waiting the collector's imminent arrival. God must've smiled when I decided instead to find another scoop, as that was what He intended all along.

He's been talking to me lately about the measure with which I've been doling out seed - not sunflower seeds, of course, but financial seed, especially. He's been challenging me to use a bigger scoop.

There was a reason my bag of sunflower seed went bad. I let it sit for too long. Moths found their way inside, and the resultant worm-like larvae ruined the seed. If I'd used it in greater measure each day it would have gone to its intended use. And God is telling me that my financial resources will similarly go to waste if I don't scoop them out in greater measures towards the purposes for which He's supplied them.

My spiritual bag of seed doesn't just contain my finances. The same principles apply in using all the gifts I've been given with which to bless others. I need to freely sow God's love into the lives I come across each day. The faster I empty my bag of seed, the sooner I'll receive a new supply.

I simply need to use a bigger scoop.

"One man gives freely, yet gains even more;
another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty."

(Proverbs 11:24 NIV)

Monday, August 15, 2011

School Prayer

I was driving my kids to their first day of school when I saw her – a mother with her three kids on the driveway of their home, gathered in a circle and holding hands. There was no doubt what they were doing – they were praying as they waited for the school bus to arrive.

I suddenly realized that I had done everything else that morning but that. My kids surrounded me, dressed in their new school clothes, their favorite lunches packed in their new lunchboxes, all the necessary school supplies stowed away in their backpacks. And yet I’d forgotten to pray. Their hearts were full of the excitement of seeing their friends again, but I’d neglected to have them visit with their best Friend before setting off in the car.

This woman didn’t forget that. While I was dressing my kids, she was addressing their Father. While I was loading their backpacks, she was lifting their burdens to the Lord. While I fed my children breakfast, knowing they’d be starving again by lunchtime, she fed hers food that never fails to satisfy. In all my rushing around to make sure mine would get to school on time, she’d taken the time to wrap hers in their Father’s love.

How sad if we get everything else right but miss the one thing they need most of all. There’s something so much more important than what we put in their lunches and book bags… it’s what we put in their hearts.

"But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." (Matthew 6:33 KJV)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Recording Wrongs

"One… two… three…," I counted as I moved across the grass, bending repeatedly to retrieve the empty pop cans now squished flat after my son and his friend had gleefully ridden their go-cart over them the evening before. I'd stood at the window that night, watching them litter the lawn with the aluminum containers that they used for obstacles to drive around and targets to aim at, the boys relishing the resounding crunch each time one of them was smashed by a wheel.

Darkness had dropped too quickly for them to clean up the cans that night, and my son's early work schedule prevented him from completing the task before he left home the next day. The need to cut the grass before his return that evening forced me to perform the pickup duties myself. I tallied the cans as I gathered them, so that I could later impress upon my son the magnitude of the work I'd done for him.

Suddenly the Lord stopped me, instructing me to pick up the rest without counting how many of them there were. As I did so He reminded me that He hadn't kept track of the number of times He'd had to forgive me that day. Neither had He counted the minutes He'd hung on the cross for my sins. After all, it was a lot easier to use my hands to pick up a few cans than to have the same stretched across the beam of a cross and nailed to the splintered wood beneath them.

The next time I'm tempted to record another's wrongs I'll remember instead to count the ways my Savior loves me, and offer a little mercy myself as a result.

"Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellow servant, even as I had pity on thee?"
(Matthew 18:33)

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