Wednesday, April 17, 2024
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Simcha Fisher: Give your small gifts to Jesus

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Toward the end of Lent, I wrote about offering up penances and sacrifices to God. I often forget, even after being a Catholic for most of my life, to take this final step.

I get so hyper-focused on doing the thing I’ve decided (or am obligated) to do—abstaining from meat, fasting, leaving the radio off or leaving my phone in the other room, or maybe not salting my dinner, or not getting in line first for dessert—that I forget to offer these little sacrifices up to God, even though that’s allegedly why I’m doing it in the first place.

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“It’s just the same as if you were buying a present for someone, and then left it in the car. What’s the use in that?” I wrote.

“It doesn’t matter how thoughtful or expensive or beautifully wrapped it is, if it never gets to them. You have to actually deliver it, put it in their hands and tell them it is for them, from you.”

This is how it is with spiritual sacrifices. We must remember to complete them by actually deliberately putting them in the hands of God, just as we would do with any gift.

Let’s stay with that metaphor, but wake it up a little. Let’s imagine that you are giving someone a present, and this time you do wrap it, and you do give it to them, and you do let it know it’s from you.

You remember to do all the stuff I remind you to do, above. But what’s inside is almost nothing.

Good news! I have reason to believe the recipient (and we’re talking about Jesus, here, if I didn’t make that clear) will be delighted. There’s even a parable about this: The widow’s mite. She brings her two little coins to the temple because that’s what she has, and the Lord is delighted with her gift.

Scripture is pretty clear about this: The God who cares about the sparrow and about the number of hairs on your head is not going to be snooty about being offered a small gift. It is sincerity he cares about, not volume.

Ah, but what if you make some kind of small, feeble offering to the Lord and you’re capable of so much more? What if you have much and you only give a little, because you’re weak and a little selfish and you want to love God, but you only love him a little bit? What will he say to a paltry little gift like that?

I think something like: “Thank you, my lovely love, my dearest dear, my sweetest sweet. I love it. Please come back again soon so I can see you again, and we will see what we can do together.”

He’s not stupid and he’s not a sucker. But he knows love when he sees it. He IS love, and when something is given, he is there, and he seems to find love irresistible, even in tiny little amounts.

This is what Jesus does when we offer something to him. Remember, he doesn’t need anything. He isn’t lacking in anything, in any way. The only reason he wants you to give him things is so he can grow them and give them back to you.

Not like an investment bank, where you put in a cold, hard coin and get back two cold, hard coins, but like a seed, a little dry speck that you give to the ground and somehow, unreasonably, it becomes a living, growing, thriving tree and all the birds of the air come and roost in its branches.

This is a real thing that happens. I’ve seen it. You give little things to Jesus and he makes them huge and thriving and alive. Not always overnight! Not even necessarily in your lifetime. But you can be sure that anything you turn over to him will not languish there, because letting things languish is not what he does. It is not who he is.

What else is there to say? All we have to lose is our dry little specks. Praise Jesus, who makes all things live.

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