Hiding the Word:
It’s a season of celebration.
Our family is celebrating graduations and the end of the school year, ballet recitals, concerts, plays, birthdays, and the 50th wedding anniversary for my husbands’ parents.
So, on a bright and beautiful day like today, a morning of sunshine and cool breezes on the day after torrential downpour and tornadoes hit our area, it seems fitting to meditate on a Psalm of celebration.
Our verse for the week is:
But let all who take refuge in you rejoice;
let them ever sing for joy,
and spread your protection over them,
that those who love your name may exult in you.
For you bless the righteous, O Lord;
you cover him with favor as with a shield (Psalm 5:11-12 ESV).
Last night after my daughters’ ballet recital, families hovered under umbrellas and still arrived soaking wet to their cars. One man stayed long after most others had left, offering to walk people to their vehicles if they didn’t have an umbrella, holding his over their heads so they could escape some of the drenching.
I can imagine God covering us with “favor as with a shield” in a similar way. How it’s all about his grace and kindness to us. How it’s self-sacrificing. How it offers us more perfect protection than any umbrella off the shelves of Wal-Mart.
Now that’s something to celebrate!
With beach season approaching, I’ve been thinking . . . I’d like thinner legs.
While I’m placing orders, I’d also love to have wavy hair with no streaks of gray in it.
No glasses would be nice, too.
Yes, then I’d look really great . . . not at all like me, but great.
Fortunately, I don’t really like the beach, so I don’t dwell on these issues for long. It’s dangerous really to look around at other people and compare ourselves to them, not just physically, but spiritually, too. While I’m baring the deepest, darkest parts of my soul with you, I might as well honestly admit that I struggle with this at times.
For me, the trap comes primarily when I’m reading. As a lover of words, I tend to fill every available minute with reading of some kind, even if it’s just five minutes while standing in a line. And as I read, there are moments when I think, “If I could just change myself in this way or that way, I’d be better able to serve God.”
I don’t have the impact of this woman, the poetic mastery of language like another, the scholarly education like her, the testimony of this woman or the vast Scripture memorization like another . . . When it comes to spiritual matters, I confess I sometimes want to swap out parts of me for what looks better, not really out of jealousy or pride, but just because I long to give to God the best offering possible.
For most of us, our deep down motives are pure and true. Out of a desire to worship and give glory, though, sometimes we glance to our sides at the offerings of others and feel we fall short.
What about you? Have you ever looked around and wished you prayed like her, knew exactly what God called you to do like him, knew Scripture as well as she did, or had the same spiritual gift as a friend?
The eye in the Body of Christ wants to be the foot or the hand wants to be the mouth. Imagine the Body of Christ as a Mr. Potato Head—now how silly would we look? Unfortunately, when we eyes spend all our time trying to be feet, the Body of Christ is blind and clumsy, tripping all over itself.
“But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body” (1 Corinthians 12:18-20).
Your gifting, your passion, your past, your experiences are all uniquely packaged together by God to form you and mold you into the vessel of His choosing.
And all He asks is that we raise our hands to release what He has already given to us:
the fullness of the talents He has bestowed
and the passions He has stirred up deep in the fires of our hearts
the issues that make us raise our voices as we step onto soapboxes
the service that we wake in the morning excited to perform
the experiences from our past that soften our hearts and make us tender to those hurting in our midst.
Our arms heavy-laden with all that we have received from Him, we then lift it all back up in worship.
We’re the only ones at times looking around to compare the gift we bring to the presents of the other worshipers. God isn’t sifting through the gift table, shaking packages and estimating value or peeking at the cards looking for the names of the gift-bearers.
It’s just us—watching the gift table and shifting our gaze with embarrassment when another attendee brings in a cumbersome package wrapped in paper all silver and topped with a ribbon so fancy. Then another lays on the table a gift bag filled to overflowing, tissue paper barely covering the treasures inside and we want to take our gift back. It’s not enough. Not for a King so worthy. Not for a God we adore.
The widow in the temple, though, knew that true worship simply meant giving all that she had, sacrificially placing her “two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents” as an offering to God (Mark 12:42).
Others had given more, even ostentatiously so. “Many rich people had thrown in large amounts” (Mark 12:41). She could have watched from the corners of the temple in shame at the earthly value of what others gave and walked away clutching her cent pieces, confident that God would despise a gift so meager.
And yet, she didn’t. And nor did He.
She gave. He noticed.
He called His disciples over to learn from her. Men who would eventually be asked to give up everything—even their very lives—-learning how to give sacrificially from a pauper widow almost lost in a crowd of those richer and more important than her. All because she “put in everything” when she gave to God.
What two cents are you laying at the altar? Your spiritual gift, your ministry, your service to your church, your sacrifice for your family, your care for another, your laying aside of personal dreams, your causes, your secret encouragement for a friend. It’s being a hand when He made you to be a hand and being an eye when He asked you to be the eye in a body of Christ that is so dependent on every organ.
Your two cents is a gift precious to God; He only asks us to give what we ourselves have been given.
As I finish up today, I’m listening to Paul Baloche sing Offering. I hope you take a moment to worship with me.
by Paul Baloche
I bring an offering of worship to my King
No one on earth deserves the praises that I sing
Jesus may You receive the honor that You’re due
O Lord I bring an offering to You
I bring an offering to You
Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for www.myfrienddebbie.com and worship leader. Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness. To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.
Copyright © 2012 Heather King