the parable of the beets

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.


Welcome to the Garden of Egan | July 1, 2012 at 6:36 PM

That was beautiful.

A lesson for me.

Thank you.

Melanie Jacobson | July 1, 2012 at 7:12 PM

"Our front porches can be like altars sometimes." Love it. And the part about pulling the beets out with someone else in mind being the part that matters. Really good words for me to hear today.

Bonnie | July 1, 2012 at 11:33 PM


Becca | July 2, 2012 at 6:34 AM

Love the idea of a front-porch altar.

I needed these words. I need them. Right now. Thank you!

Momza | July 2, 2012 at 11:11 AM

I hope I remember this forever and ever amen.

Unknown | July 2, 2012 at 4:27 PM

Lovely, lovely, lovely.

Lara Neves | July 2, 2012 at 7:18 PM

Perfect. My husband and I have been talking a lot about grace and mercy lately and this is a perfect addition to that conversation.

lesa | July 2, 2012 at 11:02 PM

I came back to read this a second time because I liked it so much. Thank you for sharing these important thoughts.


wendy | July 3, 2012 at 6:13 PM wonder I adore you. You are so wise.
I totally agree with your thoughts here. the key. The ACT of service.
How it is received is insignificant to the intentions of the giver.


Valerie | July 3, 2012 at 9:28 PM

Great thoughts and words. I have had to teach myself that very thing. I once worked hard to raise money for Christmas gifts for a family who said they needed them, only to walk into the house to deliver them and see they had a flat-screen tv, game system, shelves and shelves of DVDs and a few other things, none of which I had. But I had to step back and do what you suggest, focus on the giving and remember the joy I had raising the money and shopping for the gifts.

The Way I See It | July 5, 2012 at 10:40 PM

I love this thought, because I have been in those situations from both ends.

Charlotte | July 10, 2012 at 11:29 AM

I agree with your thoughts, which were wonderfully expressed (as always!)

Rachel Cotterill | July 13, 2012 at 2:50 AM

I always love visiting your blog - this is a good example of why! You've made me think, but in a gentle way that revolves around neighbours and presents :-) I think I would decide based on how well I knew the person, and if I couldn't use something myself, I'd try to pass it along.

LisAway | July 17, 2012 at 1:48 AM

I love this very much. It is lovely. I'm not sure if it's because I don't have as many real-life interactions as some people or what, but I don't remember having thought about whether someone would like/use/waste something I had given, but your closing line still made me tear up.

Katy | July 22, 2012 at 1:06 PM

Lovely post. Perry is perfect for a New Testament Jewish guy! How cool that he is doing that!

Tina | August 17, 2012 at 6:50 AM

Beautiful thoughts.

It brought back to my mind of a Christmas years ago that we bought a gift for a family of young kids that our children would have LOVED and never had received. We bought it for ANOTHER family. We went and visited the family afterwards and sat and listened to them say what a ridiculously silly gift it had been, not knowing we were the givers. I would love to have packed it up and taken it home with us :) After processing the whole event, my husband and I came up with the same thoughts you expressed in this post. You say it so eloquently. Thanks