Day 108: April 18, 2013

Today's Reading(s)

Matthew 14:34-36 Read Online
Mark 6:53-56 Read Online


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Today's Reflection

Key Verse(s)

Wherever He would go, into villages, towns, or the country, they laid the sick in the marketplaces and begged Him that they might touch just the tassel of His robe. And everyone who touched it was made well.

—Mark 6:56

Come to Give, Not Just Receive
by Amy Haywood Dutton,

It seems like every person has that one friend. You know the one I’m talking about—that black hole, rainy cloud kind of friend. They only call when they need something. They seem to zap all your time and resources. You walk away more discouraged than encouraged. They’re just that friend.

I try so hard not to be someone else’s that friend. But when I read passages like this, I know that I can be that friend to Jesus. I focus on the tassel of His robe and wonder if I’m that desperate to seek after Him. Do I have that kind of faith? But I know that’s a selfish faith. What can Jesus give me? What do I get?

Throughout the Gospels, crowds seem to follow Jesus. Everywhere He goes, He heals the sick and gives everything of Himself, even His own life. How different would it look, though, if some of the few in those crowds came to give, not just receive?

I know there’s a balance there. It’s natural to ask God for things. After all, there are certain things only He can provide. In fact, Jesus even tells us to come as children, calling God the Father, Daddy.

“Keep asking, and it will be given to you. Keep searching, and you will find. Keep knocking, and the door will be opened to you” (Matthew 7:7). Jesus even tells a parable, recorded in Luke 18, about a persistent widow who nags a judge. He finally gives her what she asks for out of desperation, just so she’ll leave him alone.

But, in that same breath, it’s shameful to take everything and give nothing, to be with Jesus just to see what we can get. He’s not a genie in a bottle, a bellhop, or Santa Claus.

Sometimes, the answer is to “go, sell young belongings and give to the poor.” Jesus asked that of the rich young ruler (Matthew 19:21). But, he didn’t ask that of everyone he came in contact with.

Others, like the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4), shared the news with the people in her town, right where she was, and many believed because of her testimony (verse 39). So, then, the question becomes, what are you doing with the things God has called you to keep?

Our personal homes. My home is a place where I can come relax after a hard day’s work. I throw off my shoes, kick back, and relax. But if it’s not all about what I can get out of my home, how can I open it up to others? After all, homes were the early church. How can I turn my house into a sanctuary, a place of worship?

Our relationships. So many times, we base relationships on what someone else can do for us. But what if we’re called to be stewards of the people God places in our lives? What if we help bring out the best in others, unveiling their true potential? What if we love them, unconditionally, the way Christ loved us?

Our jobs. Sometimes, I look at my job as a necessity. It helps pay the bills and keep food on the table. After all, it’s called “work” for a reason. But what if I recognize that God has gifted me with the ability to do my job. Not only does the workplace become a mission field, but it also allows me to work to the best of my ability, as in service to God, not man (Colossians 3:23).

Our church home. It’s easy to walk into the walls of the church, sit back, and see what I can get. Does the sermon speak to me? Was the music too loud for my liking or in line with my style? Church was never meant to be consumer-driven. In fact, the church is meant to be the hands and feet of Jesus. It’s a place where I can serve and encourage others in their faith.

Giving is all a matter of perspective and a motive of the heart. If I truly believe Jesus is who He says He is, then my natural response is to give, not out of obligation or to make it even, but because I want to give Him my all.

+ The Gospel of Mark (The New Daily Study Bible) by William Barclay

Reflection Questions

  1. What can you give to Jesus today?
  2. What’s something God has called you to keep? How can you use that for His glory?

About the Author

Amy Haywood Dutton
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Amy is a designer, a programmer, a dreamer, and a doer. She makes magic happen at Ah Ha Creative with the help of coffee, her Mac, and Pilot G-2 (yeah, she’s a pen snob). Since 1984, she’s attended Brentwood Baptist. She loves long walks on the beach (kidding...but really), running half marathons, reading, watching movies, and spending time with her husband, Henry. You can stalk her online at amyhaywood.com or follow her on Twitter @ahaywood.