The Gift of Time

When my daughters ask me what I want for Christmas, I can never think of anything I want, so I just say, “I want to spend time with you.” I must be getting old, because my answer sounds like something my Dad used to say to me when I asked him the same thing. I buy him nice presents anyway, and he likes them, but he never LOVES them as much as just being with us. He loves our gift of time.

Our Father in Heaven wants the same thing, togetherness! When we ask Jesus what He wants of us today, He may likely say, “I want your presence. Come be with me for awhile.” To Jesus, our presence is a present. You know how the more you hang out with someone, the better you get to know them? That’s how it is when we spend time with Jesus. We get to know Him better.

Now, He already knows us, knows what we are thinking or getting ready to say, so we don’t have to even talk a lot. We can be still and just bask in His presence. Coming to Him on purpose just because we know that’s what He loves, is a gift to Him.

Something else that might be on Jesus’ gift list is service to the needy. Over and over in the Bible, we are commanded to love others. In the verse below, He makes it clear that we need to love them by taking care of them. Jesus did that, and still does that. He answers needs. He is a giver! We are to be like Him, with His heart for others:

For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Matthew 25:35-40

Dear Jesus,

Your birthday is coming up. What an awesome chance for us to give You gifts! We can never repay or earn the gift of eternal life You bought for us with Your blood. We can give others gifts in Your name though. You tell us, by doing that, we are giving them to You! We can do that! Remind us how much others need the gifts of time and love or other physical needs. Fix our eyes on the eternal so we don’t cling to our own material gifts so tightly. Lead us to share them. We love You so much! Amen

GROWwork: In the next few days or week, pick three people to love on by sending a card, buying some groceries or just spending time with them. That may be the biggest need of all, as so many people are lonely, especially on holidays. If we ask Jesus for opportunities, He will send them. Be on the lookout! Imagine that it is Jesus You are serving this week. I will do the same. Giving feels much better than getting but sometimes I forget.

Love and prayers to all of you,

Tina

Being a Tool

November 12, 2020

A professor once asked me, when I was in college, “If you were an animal, what animal would you say you were and why? To this day, I think about how relevant that was to seeing myself as I was, but also as I wanted to be. By the way…I was a rabbit because I was energetic and easygoing and a little shy:) I wanted to be more outgoing , like a puppy. And this relates to us how, you ask?

Looking at ourselves in a different way may help us see what we need to change or keep doing. For example, if the professor asked me what tool I was in God’s garden shed, I would have to do some deep thinking about my purpose, work experience and helpfulness to Him. There is absolutely no judgement here, only an invitation to think about our purpose from God’s point-of-view. Here are some questions to consider:

What gifts has God given me that can sow His Word?

What shape am I in, as a tool, shiny and new, or well-used?

Am I an obedient tool? Do I work like I am supposed to?

Do I hide in the back of the toolshed so I don’t get called to work?

What is our job as a tool? Is it to understand God’s plan or just be available?

Will we do any dirty work that He wants or just the easy stuff?

For this devotion, you may want to write out your answers in your journal. I will do the same.

But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor. Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work. 2 Timothy 2:20-21

And let not us grow weary in doing good for in due season we will reap if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9

Dear Father,

We know You can do all things without us, but we also know You want to use us to spread the gospel. As we ask ourselves questions and read Your word, please enlighten us to Your purpose for our gifts. Give us opportunities to use them for Your glory. We know that gifts of encouragement and sympathy and compassion are just as important as other seemingly great talents. May You find us to be a willing and useful tool for Your glory. You deserve all praise forever! Amen