December 1, 2003

Encouragement for Today

 

Joyful Surrender

Lysa TerKeurst

 

Key verse:

 

It is more blessed to give than to receive. Acts 20:35

 

Devotion:

 

I was going through a fast food drive-through one day when I realized I didn’t have enough cash on me to pay for the lunch I’d ordered for my daughter, Hope, and myself. I knew Hope, who had just celebrated her ninth birthday, had received a ten-dollar bill as a gift from her aunt. I asked Hope if I could borrow just a few dollars to make up for my shortage, and I promised I would pay her back. She refused, explaining that she was seeing some of her friends that afternoon and wanted to show them her ten-dollar bill. It just would not be the same to show them a five-dollar bill and a couple of ones. No, she insisted, she had to keep her ten-dollar bill for herself.

 

I asked her if she trusted that I would pay her back. She said she did, but I might not pay her back with a ten-dollar bill. She did not want two fives. She did not want ten ones. She did not want any combination of bills. She wanted a ten. A ten-dollar bill would, after all, be much more impressive to her friends.

 

As it was approaching my turn at the drive-through window, I got more aggressive with my offer. I told her I would not only give her the change from the original ten-dollar bill, which was going to be about seven dollars, but that I would give her another ten-dollar bill later. Even this offer was not enough to release her tight grip on her beloved bill. She did not want a ten-dollar bill later because she might miss showing off to her friends today.

 

Did my sweet daughter not realize that I had the ability to bless her with many ten-dollar bills? Did she not appreciate the fact that I had just spent the equivalent of more than ten ten-dollar bills on her birthday party? Did she not even have a clue of how many ten-dollar bills I’ve spent on her over a lifetime? Not to mention the fact that her lunch was part of the reason I was spending this ten-dollar bill at the moment?

 

Finally, when we were at the window, Hope begrudgingly gave me the money. How it disappointed me that she would not willingly release the ten-dollar bill.

 

How it must disappoint God when we do the very same thing.

 

You see, I had special knowledge that Hope did not have. I knew that waiting in our mailbox at home was another birthday card—one from her grandmother that contained a whopping fifty dollars! Her ten-dollar bill would pale in comparison.

 

Likewise, God has special knowledge in our lives. He has blessings for the radically obedient that make the dime-store stuff we are so intent on holding onto pale in comparison. The question is do we trust Him? Do we trust that He will bless us? Do we trust that His blessings are infinitely better than what He might first ask us to release?

 

(Taken from Lysa’s book, Radically Obedient, Radically Blessed)

 

My prayer for today:

 

Dear Lord, thank you for the many blessings in my life that I usually take for granted. Your love is greater than any earthly gift you could give me, so please help me to recognize the things in my life that I hold onto more tightly than You. Change my heart so I can trust you with my finances, my family, and my life. Please be glorified by my choices, and my priorities. In Christ’s name I pray, Amen.

 

Application steps:

 

Think of the ways God has blessed you specifically. This can be material blessings, talents, experiences, or spiritual gifts. Pray that God will reveal the ways He wants you to surrender them to His service, and pray for the courage to be obedient once He has.

 


Reflection points:

 

What blessing are you currently unwilling to trust God with?

 

What is keeping you from trusting God?

 

In your past experience with God, has He proven Himself trustworthy? Think of specific examples.

 

Why would it be better to trust God with your gifts than to trust yourself?

 

What steps can you take towards actively surrendering the gift you are clutching so tightly?

 

Power verses:

 

Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this," says the Lord Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room for enough. Malachi 3:10 (NIV)

 

Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put hope in their wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life. 1 Timothy 6:17-19 (NIV)

 

Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence. 1 John 3:18-19 (NIV)

 

Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 2 Corinthians 9:7 (NIV)

 

One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty.


A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed. Proverbs 11:24-25 (NIV)

 

Additional resources:

 

Radically Obedient, Radically, Blessed by Lysa TerKeurst

http://www.gospelcom.net/p31/resources/radical.html

 

Living Life on Purpose by Lysa TerKeurst

http://www.gospelcom.net/p31/resources/livinglife.html

 

P31 Woman Magazine by Proverbs 31 Ministries

http://www.gospelcom.net/p31/resources/newsletter.html