Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Chocolate Obedience

I am ashamed to admit that I am a person who does not like to share her food. I don't want you to look at my plate. I don't want you to touch my plate. And I've been known to slap the hand of someone who has the temerity to reach for a French fry from my own personal kiddy meal sized portion. My husband knows this about me and, being a person who enjoys teasing his wife, he always attempts to steal my food. After all, it is just plain entertaining to see someone who spends a good deal of her time reading the Bible and praying totally lose it over a trans fat laden morsel of overcooked potato.

The Lord has not been impressed with my parsimonious attitude about what is mine. That's understandable, because everything I have is a gift from God, and He doesn't like to see me being selfish with His other children. Beyond that, there is a divine principle at work here. The seed of wheat must fall to the ground and die before new life springs forth (John 12:24). The things we try to clutch to our hearts and keep, we lose. Release them to the Lord and you may be sure that He will restore to you more than you lost. This is the promise of Mark 10:29-30: "'I tell you the truth,' Jesus replied, 'no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age…and in the age to come, eternal life.'"

Early this morning my husband observed me heat a small piece of cinnamon roll in the microwave. Just as I ushered it lovingly to my mouth he said, “Can I have that?” My response was to jam the entire rather large bite into my mouth as quickly as possible. I immediately felt guilt. Later, as I prepared to leave for work, I searched hurriedly for a snack to eat mid-afternoon. I chose a half of bar of dark chocolate and with it in hand I turned to tell my husband goodbye. I felt remorseful over my earlier selfish attitude and apologized for not having been willing to give him my cinnamon morsel, because he would have unhesitatingly given it to me had our roles been reversed. That's what is so funny to him. He is unfailingly generous in such situations while I, the Sunday school teacher and Christian author wannabe, am unfailingly stingy.

His response to my apology was to grin widely and say, "OK, can I have your chocolate?"

The old selfishness caused my face to contort and my hand to tighten onto MY chocolate...and then I deliberately walked forward and placed it on the table before him. He immediately attempted to give it back but I gave him a kiss and nobly said, "No, no, I'm going to be 'big' about this!" And I walked out the door.

When I got to work, I checked my mailbox as usual. My box is high, just above eye level, and I’m used to tugging at the edge of papers and envelopes only to have whatever is resting on top of them shower down around me. I’ve gotten into the habit of pulling with one hand and being prepared to catch with the other. Today when I pulled out the sheets of paper that were in my box a shower of gold wrapped candies fell into my outstretched hand. The local parent’s group had provided treats for each teacher—three mini bars of chocolate.

Scriptures: "Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you" (Luke 6:38).

"Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you" (Matthew 5:42).

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