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Giving God Our Best CLGrace

By Cyndi Loftin Grace

 

But the king said to Araunah, “No, I insist on paying you for it. I will not sacrifice to the LORD my God offerings that cost me nothing.” 2 Samuel 24:24   

 

 

I have had the privilege to travel several times to the small country of Belize to lead women’s conferences. I now have many good friends there.

 

Belize is a very poor country. Most women work very hard to take care of their families and have little time, money or energy to take care of or pamper themselves. Having served in women's ministry for many years I have learned that every woman, regardless of who they are, where they live, or how much money they have, has a deep desire to feel beautiful and feminine. To that end I like to provide a special gift for each woman who attends one of my events - a gift bag filled with sweet smelling soaps, shampoos, body creams and perfume. These are commonplace to us, but are treasures to my friends in Belize.

 

Not having the funds to do this alone, I ask churches and friends to donate soaps, creams and shampoos before each trip. I usually receive the small containers people keep from their stays in hotels. These work perfectly.

 

The majority of the items I receive are wonderful. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would have the need to specify “unused” in the description of the gift items needed. Once, however, I received a very large bag of half-used and dried up toiletries. An inventory of the bag did not result in locating even one item I could use as a gift. To make things even more shocking, the giver actually bragged that she was happy to help out and added, “the women there should be glad to get anything since they have nothing.”

 

When I finally let go of my frustration, God showed me that I am not very different!

 

God brought to mind the many times I have gone through my pantry looking for canned goods to donate to the food bank. Many times I have only chosen items that I would never eat myself (i.e. water chestnuts!). The clothes I give to shelters are often stained and/or out of style. Never would they be worn again by my family, and yet I may have felt that the recipients should be happy with anything - even my discards! I am sorry to confess that I have never gone shopping for new clothes to give to our clothing shelter. I have never grocery shopped solely for the food pantry. I toss my leftovers to those in need and expect God - and the people receiving my gifts - to view my “sacrifice” with a smile.

 

While this lesson was still burning in my heart I thought about the many times I have treated God in the same way. Always saving the best for my family and myself, I have often given God only my leftover time, talents or resources. I would then pat myself on the back as if I have done something wonderful for the Kingdom.

 

2 Samuel 24 details a time when King David had wanted to build an altar to honor God. But he wanted the altar build on land that was owned by a man named Araunah. When David sent his men to purchase the land, Araunah refused their money. He wanted to give his king the land. David turned down the generous offer for a profound theological reason. He refused to give to God something that did not cost him anything.

 

Maybe disadvantaged people in places like Belize are happy to accept our cast-offs because they have few material blessings. But how much more excited would they be if they received new, unused, high-quality gifts. Items made or purchased just for them. Perhaps this generosity would help our friends better understand that they are cherished of God and He always offers them His best. Perhaps they would not care at all. I don’t know. I do know, however, that as Jesus has given His best to me, He expects me to give my best to others. Serving Jesus and his children on this planet will always cost me something - possibly money, perhaps time but most definitely part of myself.

 

Consider what you are giving to God and to God’s children in need - the lost, lonely, cold and hungry. God deserves our very best. Whatever the cost, our humble offerings are nothing compared to what Jesus has done for us.  

 

About the Author

Cyndi Loftin Grace is a conference/retreat speaker and Bible teacher whose ministry is to encourage and teach the person in the pew who thought there would be “more”.  She has spoken all over the US as well as overseas.  She is a wife, mother, and grandmother who calls Clinton, MS her home.

 

A Word From James

Cyndi’s words remind me of how I have sometimes failed in buying birthday presents. A gift for a loved one should not be selected just because it is on sale. The driving question is, “What will bring joy to the one I love?” Indeed, what will bring joy to the One we love? Jesus and his children deserve our best. Is there some way FollowOne can help you, your children and your church use the blessings of God to serve lost and hurting people? 

 

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