Friday, December 12, 2008

#20 Sacrificial Sharing

"And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is
pleased." Hebrews 13:16 NASB

Not too long ago there was a young boy who lived in an orphanage with 9
other boys. His name was Ben. Ben was about 10 years old at the time of
this story and he wished very much that he was not in the orphanage. The
orphanage was a very poor one and the kids did not have much at all. In
fact, each year around Christmas time the children would receive a single
orange. That orange was a prized possession of each boy there. Some of the
boys would wait for days before eating the orange. They would rub their
hands over it and even sit and just savor the smell of the beautiful citrus
fruit. One year just days before Christmas Ben started a fight with one of
the other boys. They were just being boys but it upset the head mother of
the orphanage quite a bit so she decided that she would punish Ben by not
giving him his orange for Christmas. Christmas day came and each boy
received their orange except Ben. His heart was broken as he watched the
other boys admiring their oranges. He left the room and went to his bed
were he lay sobbing. He tried to hide his sadness as the other boys came in
to get ready for bed but they knew how disappointed Ben was. When the
lights were turned out the sadness seemed to rush over Ben like a flood. He
was suddenly overwhelmed with tears and he tried to hide it by pressing his
face into his pillow. He simply wanted the night and next few days and
months to just go away so that he could look forward to the possibility of
getting an orange the next year.

While he was sobbing softly into his pillow he felt another tiny hand tap
him on the shoulder. When he rolled over to see who it was he was handed an
oddly shaped ball and then his visitor sprinted off into the darkness back
to his own bed. As Ben wiped the tears from his eyes he was able to see the
object in his hand. There in the darkness he saw that he had been handed an
orange made up of nine pieces from the other boys' oranges. They could not
stand the thought of their friend Ben having to go another whole year
without an orange so they sacrificed a piece from each of theirs so that Ben
could have one too.

When I read this story it brought me to tears because it made me think of
how generous and loving our wonderful God is to each of us. Our heavenly
Father knows what it means to give sacrificially. The Bible tells us
clearly that He gave us His only begotten Son so that whosoever believes in
Jesus will not perish, but they will have eternal life (John 3:16). If you
go back to the Garden of Eden you will discover that it was our heavenly
Father that had to make the first sacrifice in order to provide clothing for
Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:21). Sacrificial giving is in the very nature of
God and it will bring joy to Him when we too learn to give sacrificially to
others. As you consider how you will spend your money this year for
Christmas I encourage each of you to find a way that you can give of what
God has blessed you with to those who may have as little as Ben. I promise
you that you cannot out give God and anything that you give away with no
expectation of a return to you will store up for you treasure in heaven
where moth and rust cannot destroy. So follow the inspired words of the
apostle Paul today and "do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such
sacrifices God is pleased."

Dear Father God,
Please give us a heart after Your own heart; a heart that longs to reach out
to the world that is dying around us without You. Please place within our
hearts a desire to serve others just as You came to serve those around You.
May we never forget the story, dear Lord, about Ben and how his fellow
orphans reached out to him and sacrificed their precious possession so that
Ben too would have a gift to enjoy. Most of all today we thank You for the
sacrifice of Your Son Jesus who died in our place. We thank You that we can
have the free gift of eternal life because of Christ's sacrifice on
Calvary's cross, and we long for His soon return that we may dwell in Your
house forever more. In the name of Jesus we pray, Amen.

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