Please Don't Judge Me
"You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me." Mark 10:21b (ESV)
I had some priorities misplaced. Suppose I'd known for some time, but didn't fully recognize them until a trip to El Salvador with Compassion International.
I met two children on a home visit. They lifted their tarp door and invited me in. Into mud puddles and dirt walls with just one bed where five rested their heads at night. One bed for dreaming dreams of being a doctor and police officer.
They filled my hands not with silver or gold, but with selfless love. Love shared in stories and smiles and what few tangible gifts they owned.
I'd come to extend gifts myself; gifts of detergent and food. But they exceeded anything I had to give. A tiny beaded bracelet smudged with dirt, drenched in love. They wanted it to be mine.
Feeling too shy to hand it to me herself, she nudged her brother. He presented it to me as if it were a royal crown and gently slid it on my wrist.
I declare, diamonds couldn't match the worth of their hearts, their gift in that moment.
The next morning as I was getting ready I felt a nudge. Give your bracelet away like those children gave theirs to you.
You see, I had another precious bracelet with me. One my dad had given me over twenty years ago. Just a simple wooden bracelet from South Africa, but it meant the world to me.
How could I part with it? I wrestled with indecision. My heart soared, anticipating the moment I'd spot a little girl or mama to give my bracelet. But then my heart sank, anxious at the thought of giving up one of my most precious treasures.
And there lay the problem. My misplaced treasure.
Please, don't judge me.
I'm embarrassed... more than that. Heartbroken. I'm sick to say I couldn't give it away. Couldn't? No; more like I wouldn't. Both bracelets journeyed back to the United States.
One bearing selflessness; the other, selfishness.
I thought I was really something, bringing gifts to those kids in the form of beans and rice, soap and smiles. Little did I know, I was the one in need.
I needed God's mercy (and I'm so glad it's available). I needed new perspective. I don't want possessions if I'm not willing to use them to love others.
More than anything though, I needed the one thing I lacked... more love for the Lord than for my belongings. My heart held tighter to my bracelet than to what God had asked me to do. He beckoned, "give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven." A seemingly simple request, yet so difficult for me to follow.
You know what the crazy thing is? I've since lost my dad's bracelet. Isn't that the way it is with earthly treasures? They're meant to easily slip through open hands and giving hearts.
I've decided I don't want to be lacking in love for the Lord or those He cares for. Next time I'm giving it all. I'm starting by opening my hands and heart and looking for opportunities today. Are you with me?
Dear Lord, You are the perfect example of giving. You gave Your Son, and He gave His very life on the cross. Thank You for giving new mercies, second chances and hearts that respond to Your prompting. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Reflect and Respond:
"Sometimes love requires the sacrifice of your possessions, your time, or some other precious commodity." ~John MacArthur
How can you respond to this beckoning by Jesus, "...give to the poor"?
Matthew 6:20, "But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal." (NIV 1984)
Lamentations 3:22-23, "Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." (NIV 1984)