Friday, November 9, 2012

Give It Your All!


Matthew 7:2
For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

Pastor Wallace recounts the story of Pastor Dave who is invited to preach an evening service at a small, country church.  Dave is more than happy to oblige, and decides to bring his young son, Timmy, with him.  The long drive, to and from, will allow ample opportunity for them to converse and share.  

They arrive at the wood-framed, whitewashed church early, just as the sun is beginning to set.  There is plenty of light remaining for them to admire the bucolic surroundings.  They gaze at the sprawling fields of stubble dotted with gigantic, barrel-shaped bales of hay.  Observe the massive oak trees which surround the church and its modest grounds.  

Dave imagines the welcome shade these giants must provide in summer's unrelenting heat.  He longs for warmth . . .

"Let's see if the door is open," Dave tells his son.  "I'm getting cold standing out here."

"Me, too!"  Timmy agrees.  His cheeks and nose have turned ruddy in the chilly air.

To their relief, the door is unlocked.  It is dark inside the church.  Pastor Dave fumbles for a switch.  Presto!  The church, now bathed in light, is quaint, yet comforting.  Welcoming.

As Dave's eyes peruse the interior, they fall upon an old-fashioned wooden box with the letters "Collections" printed on its side.

"Maybe it's for donations to help keep this building in good repair," he tells Timmy.  "Let me see what I've got."

Timmy watches his father thumb through his wallet.  He skips the $20, the $10.  Finally grips two one-dollar bills which he quickly stuffs into the slot on the top of the box.

"Howdy, Pastor!"  Dave and Timmy jump, startled by the jovial greeting.  "You sure are the early-bird, aren't you?  Planned to be here to greet you, but glad you let yourself in."

The elderly gentleman introduces himself as Joe, and shows the two around the church as the congregation begins to trickle in.

The service goes as smooth as glass.  Pastor Dave is pleased with his sermon delivery and feels confident his message has touched the gathering.

When the service is over and the people are leaving, Joe approaches Dave again.

"This is for you, Pastor," says Joe.  "Came straight from the collection box out yonder."

Dave stares in disbelief at the money Joe presses into his waiting hand.  $2.81.  $2.81???  

"And, we thank you kindly for coming out tonight."

All Dave can manage is a nod and a weak smile.  He wastes no time getting to his car with Timmy hustling at his heels.  As soon as they get in, Dave tosses the bills and coins into the glove box.  Closes it with a fierce snap.

"Unbelievable!"  he snorts in disgust.  "That's the best they could do?  And, on top of it all, those are my own two dollars!"

Timmy is quiet.  Lost in thought.  Finally, he turns to his father.

"Dad, maybe if you'd put more into it, you'd have got more out of it."
~
"And, that," Pastor Wallace concludes, "is true in the worship experience.  The more you bring of yourself, fully present and engaged, to the service, the more you will get out of it.  And, the more you can take home with you and out into this hurting world which needs the Good News of Jesus' saving love and grace.  When you worship, will you give it your all for the Almighty?"

~

How about you?  Will you give it your all the next time you worship the Lord?

Will you pray with me?
Heavenly Father, You deserve nothing less than our undivided attention and our hearts bowed in thanks when we worship You.  Help us to be present and mindful in our prayers and praise.  May we always give our all to You.  Amen.

30 comments:

  1. Oh Martha, what a lesson you have taught me today! Thank you for sharing this powerful message. I wish you a happy and blessed weekend.

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    1. Thanks for coming by, Nelieta!
      It is a valuable lesson for all of us to learn and remember. So glad I could share this story of Wallace's.
      Blessings to you!

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  2. How very true is this. As you sow, so shall you reap. Thanks for this message today, dear Martha.

    Hope you have been well.

    Joy always,
    Susan

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    1. Thanks so much for coming by, Susan!
      Glad the message was meaningful for you. :) Yes, we have just returned from a mountain vacation, so will be trying to catch up on everyone's blogs.
      Blessings to you!

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  3. Sweet story Martha. With the same measure we mete....
    You brought me inside that old church. Wonderful words!!!

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    1. Thanks so much for visiting, Leah, and for your too kind words. Glad they brought you into the church with me - the church pictured above is in Oxford, Ga, right down the street from my parents' home. I based the post on my experience inside it. :)
      Blessings to you!

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  4. Score! I love it! Not that I'm convicted or anything. :-)

    Beautifully written as well - I didn't know where this was going until it got there. You had my attentio.... ooh! shiny!

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    1. Andy, you are too funny! :) Glad the post drew you in today.
      We've been on vacation, so will have to catch up with your blog just as soon as I can.
      Thanks so much for dropping in today!
      Blessings to you!

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  5. Martha, what a wise way to present a powerful message. How many times we expect more in life than what we put into it. Thank you for sharing today. This is definitely something that I will share with others :)

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    1. Yes, Mary, so often we do expect more from life than what we are willing to give first. So glad you want to share this message with others.
      Thanks so much for coming by!
      Blessings always!

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  6. How true! Give to the world and the best will come back to you!

    http://rimlybezbaruah.blogspot.in/2012/11/sometimes-i-wish.html

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    1. Yes, Rimly, when we give unselfishly, expecting nothing in return, often we are surprised by how gifts are multiplied. :)
      Thanks so much for visiting!
      Blessings to you!

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  7. Such a wonderful lesson to be learnt here today Martha!

    Giving your best at all times irrespective of the output is something we all need to learn, remember and practice :)

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    1. I'm so glad you enjoyed this post, Me; thanks so much for coming by!
      Yes, we always need to give our best in all things. No holding back! :)
      Blessings to you!

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  8. Great illustration Martha. Doesn’t that apply to everything in life?
    Colossians 3:17 It’s a way of life, desiring to do all for the glory of God and giving our all.
    Have a blessed weekend dear friend.

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    1. Oh, yes, Debra - to Him be all the glory, forever and ever! In being at this mountain cabin this past week, I experienced so much more than I would ever dare to ask the Lord to give me. But, He did . . .For all of that, I am forever grateful!
      Thanks so much for coming by and for leaving your wonderful comment, my friend.
      May your weekend be blessed, too, in each and every way!

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  9. What a great story. Particularly timely in this time of politics, economic crisis, challenges to our individual faith walks etc. What we put into anything mirrors what we get out. True in the church as well as life. Love it. I might have to use that story myself sometime...

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    1. Thanks so much for coming by, Lynne!
      Please use the story - I already lifted it from Wallace. :)
      It is such a great lesson for us all in life. I remind myself every day to give it my all.
      Blessings to you!

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  10. Wow..this is actually a real thought provoking story...Thanks Martha! It bears a great message all of us should keep in mind.

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    1. Thanks so much for visiting, Jessica!
      I truly believe we all have to keep this in mind each and every day. So many expect things to simply fall into their laps without effort - doesn't happen that way. :)
      Blessings to you!

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  11. Oh my, very valid story. I think we all know people who choose to live in what I call an unconscious manner like this. For that matter, we're all guilty of doing it to some extent here and there. Conscious choices to put either positive or negative energy into our waking moments. Conscious choices to embrace moving forward, rather than stagnating. Conscious choices with every breath, every thought. I firmly believe we create our realities, along with that Divine Presence walking alongside.

    Blessings and hugs to you, sweet Martha. <3

    - Dawnie

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    1. Thanks so much for coming by, Dawn!
      I am right with you on this one - we DO make choices, each and every day, as to whether we will live positively or negatively. May the Lord always guide us to see our lives and the world through His eyes that we might make right choices.
      Blessings to you!

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  12. Martha, I always love your stories that lead into the scripture and then a teaching and lastly a prayer. Sometimes we expect much more than we're willing to give and then are disappointed. I agree we should be giving our all in prayer, worship and in our daily lives. When we give our all to God in prayer, he can then replenish our spirit so we can give the best of ourselves to our family, friends and community. Thanks for this thought today. :-)

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    1. Thank you, Tameka, for taking the time to visit and for your lovely compliment regarding my posts. It means so much!
      And, it's so true that the more we give of ourselves to God, the greater the capacity to give to and serve others. It is a well which never runs dry.
      Blessings to you!

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  13. That was a story with a twist! I didn't see where it was headed. Interesting that you and I are both thinking about judging in our current posts. Thanks for always feeding my soul when I stop by.

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    1. Thanks so much for coming by, Galen, and for your kind words.
      Yes, what a coincidence about our posts! I've found that happening with other devotional bloggers from time to time. Must go with the territory. :)
      Blessings to you!

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    1. Glad you enjoyed the lesson, Ann Marie! :)
      Blessings to you!

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  15. What wonderful reflections... it was easier to grasp with the concrete example of money...but yes, I'll be sharing this story with the kids. Thanks for making it simpler :)

    I pray that I may give my ALL and I wish I could begin it now.

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    1. Oh, I'm so happy to know, Melissa, that you can share this story with the children! When we withhold our God-given gifts and talents, we not only cheat Him, we cheat ourselves.
      Yes! Let's both make that effort to always give our all in what we do.
      Love and blessings!

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Pray!

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ...