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Sharing food

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Matthew 7:9-11
Jesus says, "Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!"

Margaret and I hadn't been parents for more than a few minutes before our first son Chris asked for food. Eyes closed, crying, he wanted milk. And more than anything in the world, we wanted to give it to him.

Occasionally I wander through my memories remembering moments when I blew it. I didn't give the best gift to my kids, or to my wife, or to my mother or father. I took something away from us in those moments. I didn't do the Right Thing.

When that happens to me now, I move heaven and earth to make things right with the person I have harmed. I make my amends as fast as I can. I already have enough old business that's not quite finished. I don't think I can handle much more.

God certainly sets a high standard of forgiveness, forgiving me long before I can forgive myself. I know it's my responsibility to accept what he gives me, to apply it (like a salve) to my shame and pride so I can get on with living. Giving myself to others in a fairly generous way is really only possible if I think there's something worth giving.

And I think God wants me to remember the times I did give, not the times I didn't. Like every parent, I love my children. There are many times I gave them bread and fish, and they grew stronger because of it. Marked by grace, our lives as both parents and children grew more generous and joyful as we ate that bread and fish together.

It's evening and I haven't had much time to eat today. Margaret has made me a green salad topped with little Chinese cobs of corn, avocado, tomatoes and walnuts. I know there is nothing to fear in that salad ... and everything to enjoy. And I'm going to eat every bite.

Lord, you feed your sheep with food fit for kings. We don't deserve it, and you don't care. You break out all the good stuff for us. Thank you!



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