I have spent the past three weeks prepping for, participating in, and then recovering from stake girls camp, and now I would like to tell you some thoughts I have had on mercy. No specific link here (promise), but I had a little experience this week that I want to share.
My sweet neighbor, and master gardener, brought over some beets for me this week. I was in and out all week, and the one person in my family who will eat beets was out of town camping. Was it wrong of me to accept this offering even though it would go unused? Would it have been better to turn down someone's generosity? What's more important here, eating 4 offered vegetables, or accepting a kind gift with a smile, knowing it would not be used? What's a more Christian response? I ask this because I believe there are many who may say it was wasteful. Sure, on a temporal level maybe it was. But some days I need to make my decisions based purely on what feels right. If I had turned away that gift I may have frustrated a spiritual prompting that kind man had had to come and make an offering.
Our front porches can be like altars sometimes.
Too often when we talk of giving and service we consider the response of the recipient. We ask questions like, What if he does not use my gift appropriately? What if the money I give that family for Christmas gets spent on something less desirable? We worry that the receiver is not responsible enough to receive. We even justify our reluctance to give because we don't want our resources wasted. But once we give something away that thing is not ours anymore, anyway. No matter what is done with it. Why do we worry so much about the reception and use of our gift?
Let me tell you one thing I have learned through experience and teachings from the holy spirit.
God's mercy is as much for the giver as the receiver.
If I give a gift that is completely abused or disregarded, am I blessed less? Do I only benefit if my offerings have been received with gratitude and meekness? Of course not.
And this is my nugget for today. Give yourself into heaven, and think less about the other part of the interaction.
It's not the eating of the beets that matters, but the pulling them out of the ground with someone else in mind.