Published: Monday, 01 January 2018 18:05
Written by Don Goulding
Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide yourselves purses that do not wear out - a treasure in heaven that never decreases, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. Luke 12:33 (NETFull)
My esteem of hummingbirds is downgraded. I used to be enchanted by their reaching beaks, emerald backs, and shimmering red throats. Zipping about the flora, they were miniature ornaments of joy on God’s Christmas tree.
Then we hung a feeder by our window. One little guy took to the nectar with enthusiasm and moved his permanent address to our yard. My delight began to wane when he accosted visitors to one of his six feeding ports, including me when I refilled the bottle. I nicknamed him Hummer Scrooge.
My old nature easily slips into a hummingbird mentality. On the outside I act cute and friendly, on the inside I want the best and I want it for myself. I accost any who would dare ask about my overabundance, never mind that God provides it all.
I never found life in that place and I’m not going back there. I’m only open to receive love and laughter when I give my life away. I don’t mean doling out surplus in a tithe but trusting God until I systematically leverage my physical blessings into the spread grace and truth. It sounds irresponsible to our worldly ears but it’s actually natural, the way we were intended to live.
When I keep a fear of giving too deeply I also keep preoccupied stress. My days are consumed with acquiring and maintaining. Possessions own me while I hide behind the rationalization that one needs to be prudent.
Too many words on this subject is just another dodge of the real point. It’s time we come to the question—Am I acting on Jesus’ statement to sell my possessions and give to the poor, or am I another Hummer Scrooge?
Prayer: Father, help me give like you.
Published: Monday, 18 December 2017 16:58
Written by Don Goulding
For who concedes you any superiority? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you received it, why do you boast as though you did not? 1 Corinthians 4:7 (NETFull)
With five Nigerians stuffed into in a motorcar, I plunged over jungle ruts that became a single-track path. The Peugeot parted eight-foot tall sword grass like the Red Sea. When we came to a wide river, I thought our trip must end but we hailed a dugout canoe and paddled on. Next, we abandoned our shoes and machete-slashed our way through an emerald forest.
The destination was a palm-thatched village where they had little value for modernization, money, or modesty. The tribal elders informed me no white man had ever before been in their village. They treated me like royalty with long stares and much deference.
Many are the times when I have observed missionaries playing into the reverence the poor give them. I have succumbed to the temptation of that pedestal myself. It’s cultural-centric snobbery at its worst wherein we claim superiority because of our wealth, medicine, and technology. Western affluence overrates temporal comforts and discounts the unencumbered life seeking eternal blessings.
The children running up to touch my hair and giggle had a beautiful existence to which I could only aspire. The joy in the heart of an African child is far more significant to the universe than the ambition of an upwardly mobile materialist. God applauds the one and temporarily abides the other.
It was only with deepest respect that I could humbly offer the villagers the one treasure that would complete an already rich life—Jesus. I had nothing else to give.
Prayer: Holy Jesus, may I never claim to have anything except you.
Published: Monday, 11 December 2017 18:13
Written by Don Goulding
In fact, if they had been thinking of the land that they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they aspire to a better land, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them. (Hebrews 11:15-16 NET_FL)
Every eucalyptus twig quivered with orange and black wings as thousands of monarch butterflies rested from their transit in Pismo Beach, California. It’s a natural wonder that should be on every bucket list.
The monarchs’ annual journey is called the “miracle migration” because they fly from the Sierra Madre mountains of central Mexico. Many cross the Gulf of Mexico, devoid of directional markers. Subject to storms and predators, they travel thousands of miles to reach Canada and the eastern United States. Most die en route only to have their offspring metamorpihize, then continue the parents’ journey. Scientists have puzzled for years over this instinct to return to a home they have never known.
God also placed a drive in his human children that makes us hunger for a home we have yet to know. My Christian predecessors moved in the right direction but they never reached paradise during their earthly sojourn. Now it’s my turn to take up the migration. I must reach home with Jesus or die pushing in that direction.
My heart yearns for my eternal home with a desire that neither loss nor earthly blessing can overcome. I watch a loved one dragged off by cancer, and I pine for home myself. I lose my livelihood, and it only serves to pull my soul toward home. I lie on a beach in Hawaii and it’s not enough, I long to go home. The homeward draw is more powerful than all temporal distractions, good and evil.
As long as there is a twitch of strength left in me, I will use it to press after the goal of my heart.
I must get home.
Prayer: Beloved Jesus, I hurt for wanting to be at home in your city.