In his book Mere Christianity [affiliate link], C.S. Lewis tells the story of a young boy who is given money by his father. The boy takes the money and buys the father a gift. Upon receiving the gift, you can not say that the father is any richer – after all it was his money that made the purchase possible. However, he is pleased that what was given to his son was used to honor him. If the story sounds familiar, it was also the inspiration for the band name Sixpence None the Richer. It’s a story that reflects how Christians are to honor our Heavenly Father with what He has given us.
Taking the illustration a step further, it would have been easy for the boy to go out and do whatever he wanted with the money his dad had given him. Most would look at the situation and consider the money “his.” He could have saved it, spent it on himself, doled it out a bit at a time, or a myriad of other alternatives. What he choose to do was to expend it – not for his own sake, but for the sake of the one who had given it to him. He didn’t possessively cling to it; he recognized it as a means by which to bring joy to his father’s heart.
We all have been given similar blessings. These aren’t just specific talents or abilities (what are often called “gifts” in a spiritual sense), but possessions and positions, opportunities and options, rights and relationships that have been granted to us based on hundreds of different reasons (the job we have, the country we live in, our family dynamics, etc.) Our propensity is to think of these things as “ours.” Sure – there may be times where we are inclined to use them for the sake of the Kingdom, but we cling to them as tokens that have been given to us. We may sacrificially give up one, but it is less likely that we wholeheartedly give them all back to the One who generously endowed us with them. Rarely do we acknowledge that our blessings are only means of bringing our Father praise.
If we did – if we were willing to turn all the blessings He had given us back to Him in order to bring Him honor and glory, then we would trust Him more when He chose to take them away. They wouldn’t be “ours” anymore anyway – they would be given back to Him – to do what He wanted with in His infinite wisdom and provision. The blessings wouldn’t be things we would cling to; instead we would cling to the One who holds them (and us) in His hands.
And like Job we would acknowledge that:
““Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” (Job 1:21)