I remember going to Sunday School as a little girl. Since my Father has been in ministry for my entire exitance, church was a pretty big deal at my house. I would be all dolled up in a frilly dress, my lacey socks and paten leather shoes, and had probably slept in sponge rollers the night before so my long locks would look the part as well. I remember learning all the stories in the bible, about all the heroes and about the ones who failed God. I remember singing catchy little songs that I still, to this day, find myself humming in my head. I remember making crafts and pouring out my heart in the Mother’s Day and Father’s Day card I had made from a piece of construction paper folded in half.
And….I remember them taking up an offering. Since church and all it’s parts were ingrained in me so deeply, I didn’t want to miss out on a single part of the service. My parents would so graciously provide me with an offering so that I would have something to give. I had not worked for this money or earned it in any way. I wasn’t asking for this money to buy the latest toy or candy for myself, I wanted to have something to give, even give as a form of worship, and my parents always provided without hesitation.
My Sunday School memories got to flooding my mind the other day and got me thinking, I really don’t bring anything to the table when it comes to God. Just follow my sometimes crazy train of thought here….
No matter what position we try to get in life, one question we are always faced with is, “what do you bring to the table?” Trying to get into college, well … show us your grades, where you have been a part of a community, and in short how can you benefit this college if we accept you. Job Interview? The MAIN question is “what do you bring to the table?” If we decide to pay you salary, what will we get out of you in return. As my husband says, “is the juice worth the squeeze?” Meaning is the effort of hiring you and training you going to be worth the work you produce. We even face this question when getting into a relationship with someone. We want to know if our partners are going to contribute to the relationship in positive ways. We want to know they will put forth effort, right?
So being faced with this question so much in my life, I brought that same question along when in my relationship with God. What can I do for you? What do I have to offer that would be beneficial to you and make you want to love me? I began to search for something worthwhile, something of value, something He would love, and ….. I came up empty handed. Actually not only empty handed, the things I did find was things He was certain to turn His nose up at. I found guilt, shame, bitterness, anger, rebellion, disappointment, failure, and my list here could go on and on. You get my point, I felt like I needed to keep up my end of the relationship, and had nothing to offer.
Thing is when we come to God, we are NEVER asked, “what do you bring to the table?” Matter of fact it is quite the opposite. He begins showing you what He will give to you. He will make trades with you such as for your bitterness, He can give you compassion. For your anger, He can give you love. For your guilt and shame, He can give you a place of standing in full righteousness. Truth is, there is nothing good that I currently possess in my life that He hasn’t given me. I have known some levels of success, I have friends and family that love and care for me, and I have goodness in my heart…..and every bit of that is because of Him. EVERY SINGLE THING. The condition of my heart and the satisfaction in my soul all stim from a God that is excited to give good things to His children.
One step further, He never gives without wanting a portion of that gift to be given away to someone else. I’ve been shown grace when I deserved His wrath. I’ve been given love when there was nothing about me lovable. I have been treated like a child that was loved and cared for when I was acting in rebellion. In case you didn’t know already, God is by far the coolest person you will ever get to meet.
Just like the loose change I was given in a small backwoods church to place into the offering pan as it made it’s way past me, I’ve been given lots of gifts from my Heavenly Father that should be shared as well. I didn’t earn them or work for them in any way, they were given freely to me, and should be freely given to others. I know it is not easy so give grace to someone who does not deserve it, but God does it over and over again. I know forgiving is almost impossible when someone has hurt you or abandoned you, but God does it over and over again. Not easy to love the unlovable, but that is our Savior’s specialty.
Don’t worry about what you bring to God’s table, the feast has already been prepared and He has a place set aside just for you. When you leave the table so full that you can barely breath, just make sure to make a to-go plate and give it to someone on your way home.