Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Come To The Saviour"1 (Lyrics)
Hebrews 13:16 – Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. (ESV)
A few days ago, I had an overpowering desire for a glass of eggnog. Just thinking about the rich, creamy mixture with a hint of nutmeg thrilled my senses. My husband won't drink it, but he searched the local grocery stores for several days — to no avail, because the drink is seasonal, not in the season of Lent. Remembering that my grandmother made hers from a recipe, I found one, and he bought a pint of cream. When he discovered that I would use raw eggs, he was against the idea, because these days, we are cautioned about salmonella. In my disappointment, I knew that it was unrealistic for me to use a pint of cream for myself, so I set out to find a use for it.
Taking a suggestion from a friend, I decided to make butter. We took turns shaking the lidded pint jar of cream, watching the substance slowly change form. As we worked, my heart also began to change. I was no longer disappointed. Watching my smiling family spread butter over homemade rolls was a great blessing. Seeing them enjoy my small sacrifice of love for them was far greater than enjoying my drink, alone.
To make butter from cream, to give up eggnog for butter, seems small in comparison to the eternal sacrifice of His life that Jesus made for the forgiveness of our sin. And yet, according to today's verse, God is pleased by even the smallest of self-giving in the interest of others.
Many times, as parents, we give up a want or need as we buy our children food, school supplies, clothes, or shoes, or pay the rent and utilities. Do you remember times when your hesitance to give up something that you really wanted turned into a blessing of joy of giving to God, as you worked through the challenge? When we believe that all things are from God, it is easy to give to or help others, because we have developed the mindset that it is good to trade self-centred desires into blessings for others.
Our world is in turmoil because of forces beyond our control, but not beyond God's plan for it. Always, and particularly now during this season of Lent, let's serve others through our temporal gifts of time and possessions, so that we better understand holy giving instead of serving ourselves. There are many in need, while many of us have more than we need. Let's give from the abundance that God has provided to us.
Prayer: Dear heavenly Father, we thank You that small sacrifices of things that mean so much to us can be turned to joy when we give them up to You by way of giving to others. Jesus gave a holy sacrifice of His life, while You value even the smallest offering from us done in love, through our love for Him. Amen.