Before the temperatures in Detroit reached arctic cold last week, our family went sledding. I made sure all the children were layered in sweats and snow pants, but the jogging jacket that my youngest had on seemed a bit thin. So I made him wear a knit sweater about a size smaller than he normally wears. Someone had given us the sweater but, seeing that it was not his size, I had planned to give it way. When he put on the sweater I knew we had to keep it. The arms on this designer sweater came down past his wrists. Not having many sweaters that he can wear to church I told him to take off this nice fitting sweater so he could wear it on Sunday. He didn’t want to take it off, but I had my mind fixed. I already knew what he could wear to church so that eliminated my later guesswork. He begged me to let him wear it, pleaded with rapid-fire intensity as I glanced in his closet and immediately saw at least two other Sunday outfit options. I gave in. I was depriving the boy of such a joy because of what was easy for me. While it’s true that my husband and I did an annual purge of items in our office (two garbage bags of stuff) and packed a small bag of clothes to give away, I don’t consider myself a hoarder. What I do looks nothing like the picture below, but I know how to keep things, like that sweater, back. I wanted to hold on to that sweater, keep it at my finger tips so I had no outfit guesswork, though that guesswork would only be a few seconds.
Too often I hoard—my time, my way of giving to others, my advice—and only give what is easy for me. If more is required of me, I fight hard, if only in my mind, to withstand giving something else because giving something else will take more work for me. Are you like that? I didn’t want to give Justus the best I had in the moment because it was going to cost me later. When we hold back our best for those who need our love we may only see how giving so much will cost us later. We forget that we belong to Jesus, the one who paid in full the cost for our salvation, which included the price of our sanctification, living lives pleasing to Him. He is capable of giving us “exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us” (Ephesians 3:20-NKJV). If He gives us the best and we share that with others, surely He can give us better to share with another. Holding back deprives others of what may be the best for them and doesn’t give us opportunity to see Ephesians 3:20 at work in our lives. We are saying that we know what’s best instead of trusting God to give us what is best. Don’t hoard. Doing so may cause you to withhold love and to cause love to be withheld from you.
Take a Risk Challenge: Give your best in time, talent or treasure to someone you know you have withheld from. Doing so is truly a radical act of love.