My daughter seems to love me. I can’t understand why! All I did, when she was picked up from the birthday party, was to take her out for a treat at the dollar store, where she could buy a few trinkets. While there, I also suggested to her that, with her money, she buy a gift for her mother. I had seen some flower bulbs at that store, and I had suggested to my daughter, “Why don’t you buy these for mom? She’ll be really pleased!” So she did. She purchased those bulbs. And with what a smile on her face! After all, she had just purchased with the other part of the money, gifts for herself, to the tune of three dollars. Mom’s gifts were two dollars. And they would grow into a spectacular array of fine flowers … a gift from the Lord!
Afterwards, Elizabeth came downstairs to speak with me.
“Dad, I just want to say THANK-YOU for those gifts you bought for me! They were GREAT!”
Then, she added, “Is there anything I can do for YOU? Tell me what I can do for you! Anything!”
I thought hard.
“Yes,” I said to Elizabeth. “You could open me a can of pineapple if you don’t mind! I would just LOVE it!”
So off Elizabeth went, absolutely radiant and full of joy at the prospect of being able to serve me.
She came back shortly afterwards, “Dad, I don’t know how to use a can-opener! Can you help me, please?”
“Sure,” I replied. So I showed her, adding, “Make sure to be very careful with the lid. If you have ANY problems whatsoever, give me a shout and I’ll come right away. I don’t want you having problems with the lids. They can cut you very badly!”
Elizabeth was very careful. And successful. She had also asked me if I wanted something to drink, to which I had replied, “I’ll drink the juice from the can of pineapple!” I was very pleasantly surprised then, when, having returned with the pineapple in a bowl for me, she also presented me with the juice from the can in a small cup!
Now there you have it. A great picture of what God has done for us. God has “taken us into the store,” so to speak, and offered us many gifts – essentials like food and clothing. He’s even offered us things we don’t need at all, like trinkets and all sorts of things, because it is his good pleasure. But in the midst of it, he says, “Don’t be too selfish and hoard it all for yourself. Give a little back, to serving others, and you’ll be giving it to me.” Elizabeth was delighted to give “a little bit back” in purchasing that gift for her mother. And her mother was pleased. And I too was pleased. And as for Elizabeth, her cup was running over. Three dollars worth of goods in the midst of it all!
And then came the follow-up to the whole thing. An expression of how it SHOULD be in response to God’s many gifts to us. THANKSGIVING AND PRAISE. Elizabeth approached me absolutely radiant and beaming! Do YOU or I approach God RADIANT AND BEAMING at the MANY gifts that he has showered upon us? I can’t begin to tell you how I feel as a father who is approached by a RADIANT AND BEAMING daughter. My heart is melted by it, for one! Secondly, I just want to love her all the more!
Today, I am blessed to have a daughter who loves me, and who gives thanks for what she has received from her parents. She knows how to receive, and, in response to that, she also knows how to give and how to serve. She is learning that in the midst of her receiving, that it is right and proper to give something back to others. And without any coercion or prompting, she turns what she has received into an act of service, as she asks, “Now what can I do for YOU in return?” She is DELIGHTED to serve, and that is service indeed, from a pure and unblemished heart! How it makes me happy! It reminds me of the passage of Scripture which says, “We love him, because he first loved us.” (1 John 4:19)
Today, God is calling YOU and ME to act in the same way towards him, on account of all that he has done for us and on account of all that he will do for us, IF WE KEEP GIVING HIM THANKS AND STOP GRIPING AND COMPLAINING! All of this requires GOOD STEWARDSHIP, as well! Are we giving back a portion of all that we receive towards helping others, like we should? Do we give THANKS to God for what we have received? And, like my daughter did that day, are we offering ourselves to God for service, being filled with that attitude of thanksgiving? God will BLESS us if we do!