The other day while grocery shopping with two of my children, I let each of them pick a bag of Goldfish crackers to buy. They were Buy 1, Get 1 Free that day, so this worked out perfectly. It is quite a treat to pick out whatever type of Goldfish that you want, especially when there are so many to choose from, and mom usually only buys the “whole grain” ones. After much consideration and a promise between them to share with each other, my eight year old son picked the Smores flavor, and my six year old daughter picked Vanilla Cupcake. They were the happiest kids you have ever seen carrying those two bags.
When we got in the van to leave, I let them open their bags and snack on them. They were happily snacking and sharing when I put my hand back to my daughter and said “Ooooo….can I try some of those? I’ve never had that kind, either.”
There was silence. The she said very quietly “but they’re mine.”
I replied “Yes, but I bought them for you.”
As soon as I said those words, they hit home. How many times lately have I said “but it’s mine” to God?
My time…my money…my family…my body…my life. I don’t want to share.
And He whispers “Yes, but I bought them for you.”
The life we live, the blessings we enjoy, both physical and spiritual, they all come from God. This abundant life that we live (John 10:10) came at a great cost.
“Knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.” 1 Peter 1:18-19
Just as my daughter showed temporary ingratitude by wanting to keep all of her Goldfish for herself, we show ingratitude for what God has done when we want to use all of his blessings on ourselves. That is not what He has called us to be.
Jesus says in Luke 9:23 “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.”
Do we wish to follow Jesus? Then we have to stop thinking of what WE want, and think more about what HE wants.
After the conversation with my daughter in the van, my son filled the silence by pouring some of his goldfish into my hand. My daughter realized this was the right thing to do and said “Wait, I want to give you some, too.”
I heard my son say “too late” under his breath.
It wasn’t too late for my daughter. I gladly accepted her Goldfish. (Which are delicious, by the way, and now my favorite flavor.)
However, let us not waste our lives by trying to hold on to our own desires until it is too late. Jesus says “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it.” Luke 9:24
Let’s realize with every breath what God has done for us. Let’s live our lives in a way that reflects that gratitude. Let’s stop holding on to what we think we deserve and be ever so grateful for what we have been given.
“In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” I Thessalonians 5:18
By Susan Ling
Susan and her husband, Jonathan, worship with the Eastern Shore Church of Christ in Daphne, AL. They have three children ages 9,7, and 6.