Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Heart of the Matter

Motives matter.
The action, from outside, may look the same.
The heart might be night and day.
I am reminded me that God is more concerned for what's happening in the hidden parts, and not in the visible behavior.


We got flowers.
I came home from a two day trip and saw them beautiful on the table.
Lavender-gray rose. Purple iris. Yellow gerber daisy.
Aromatic and lovely.
My husband tells me someone from church sent them.
The card simply tells us we are appreciated.

The next morning is Sunday. 
As I consider this gift, I am struck by the blessing of it.
That someone thinks enough to send such sweetness.
But it's more than that.
This someone doesn't have money to throw around.
Their budget is tight. Really tight.
And cut stems...well, they are not cheap.
I am overwhelmed with gratitude as I am reminded of the widow's mite.
I wonder if this is a glimpse at God's joy in the offering from His children.

At church, I seek out the giver to tell them thank you. 
"You're welcome, " they say. "I want you to stay encouraged."
And then my gratitude is interrupted with these words, "I felt bad about...".


I develop a pit in my stomach.
This gift seems to be a guilt gift.
Something expensive given because they thought they had offended and felt guilty.

And my heart breaks.
The gift changes somehow.
That which was blessing sours slightly.
That which was given from gratitude transforms to a forced gift of penitence.
And I am stunned. Hurting.
And I wonder if this is a glimpse at God's sorrow when His children give to Him out of obligation.


Motives matter.
Why I give to God makes a difference.

My actions, from outside, may look the same.
But my heart might be night and day.

Too many times in my life, my offering to Him has been colored by duty, obligation, guilt. 
And I am just naive enough to think God actually wants me to give to Him from a place of joy, gratitude, love.

I want to bless my Abba's heart, not grieve it. 
I want to give back to Him out of my poverty because I know He is good, not because I am supposed to.


Forbid it, Lord, that I would come to You in thankless obligation. Instead, birth in me an ever-thankful heart spilling over in gratitude to You.

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