“Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity; for God loveth a cheerful giver.” 2 Corinthians 9:7
“…It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Acts 20:35
“But the Lord said unto Samuel, look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him; for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7
Our weekly Christian devotional
I multi-task while strolling around the grocery store, my cart almost hits a food-drive box. With a quick swerve I miss it, but I still manage slamming straight into a stuffed Santa.
“It’s dangerous to text while navigating a grocery cart.” A fellow shopper chuckles over her shoulder.
Blushing my response, I return Santa back to guarding the canned goods.
As I wrap his stuffed hands around the cardboard box, I can’t stop myself from peering into it. The bottom is peppered with canned green beans, boxed cornbread and ingredients for a pumpkin pie…
Within seconds, I’m transported back to my fourth grade classroom. Mrs. Sidles’ claps her hands for our attention.
“Class! This year, we are going to learn about the importance of blessing others!” She places two large cardboard boxes at the front of the room.
“Whoever fills their box with the most dried or canned goods will enjoy a special pizza party.”
“This box is for the boys to fill.” She ties a green ribbon on the front.
“And this one is for the girls.” A big red ribbon already adorns it.
Since sports were never my forte’, my heart lit up. This competition seemed Taylor-made for a kid like me!
In my excitement, I took it upon myself to motivate the other girls into raiding their parent’s cupboards. Dipping into my own chore money, I bought non-perishable items to fill our box.
Oh, did I do my best to be fiscally responsible with those funds! I took my time scanning the isles of the grocery store in search for store brands and any items that were cost effective. The more money I saved per item, the more food I could buy!
My cart was filled to the brim with generic boxes of Jell-O, outdated canned mushrooms and dented barrels of tomato sauce that were marked down.
I was so caught up in the flurry of finding deals that I never bothered asking myself whether any of these items would be ideal ingredients for cooking a splendid Christmas dinner.
On the last day of the contest, Mrs. Sidles’ emptied and counted the contents of our boxes. Despite the fact that the boys gave food that could have created a meal fit for a king; technically, the girls won.
My unsettled tummy had a hard time enjoying our victory. The thoughts of some family sitting down to a Christmas dinner of generic Jell-O weighed heavy on my heart.
Boy, did I miss the whole point of giving! My ‘benevolence’ was reduced to getting the most items for my hard-earned cash…all to win a measly pizza contest. In my selfish excitement, I had forgotten the whole point of a heart-felt contribution.
By giving with the intention of getting something in return, I actually robbed myself. Nothing can describe the joy of giving from a pure heart. It is a priceless gift that actually blesses the one who bestows.
“Dear Heavenly Father,
How many times have I pat myself on the back for being benevolent, when my heart’s intention was selfish to the core?
Even my ‘good deed’s are laced with deluded corruption. Lord, forgive me. Look into my heart and show me the truth about myself.
As you reveal my true nature, help me to sit still and take it all in; the good, the bad and the ugly.
I would much rather have you help me through these issues than to cover it up and ‘act’ like staying like this is alright. It’s not.
Today, I’m drawing a line in the sand. I will no longer tolerate any piousness or religious acts of self-righteousness in my life.
In the name of Jesus, I bind these strongholds that have taken down my witness and have affected my intimacy with God.
Lord, I humble myself before you and I submit to your guidance. Only you can know the depths of my heart and only you have the tools to change me. I trust you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
Thank you for reading our weekly Christian devotional on verses: 2 Corinthians 9:7, Acts 20:35, 1 Samuel 16:7
Please check back and see what we have for you next week!
Author: Julia Shalom Jordan
Photography credit: Meg Bitton