Fit to Give a King

GivingGift

I don’t know about you, but sometimes, as an adult, the songs I’ve sung since childhood take on a whole new “grown up” meaning.  And this week “The Little Drummer Boy” has been one of them.  I find myself relating to the little drummer boy in several ways.

Come, they told me. A newborn King to see.

Our finest gifts we bring, to lay before the King.

So to honor him, when we come.

This child was invited to come honor the King. I too was invited to join a procession of praise when Christ called me to follow Him. Like him, I wasn’t really sure where the procession would take me, but I knew I didn’t want to miss out.

 Little baby, I am a poor boy too.

I have no gift to bring, that’s fit to give a king.

This child recognized His shortcomings and felt his offering would be inadequate. So too do I feel an inadequacy with the responsibilities God has called me to. I don’t feel like what I offer could be fit to honor a holy King. My offerings seem broken and stained.

Shall I play for you?

Mary nodded. The ox and lamb kept time.

I played my drum for him.

This child loved the King enough to offer all he had. So I want to serve motivated by love for my Savior and King. May I offer all I am to give Him thanks and praise.

I played my best for Him. 

He took what He had- what he had been given- and gave His all to serve the King. I want to serve in this way, taking what God has given me- maybe a skill, a gift, a talent, a blessing- and offering it back to Him with all the strength I have.

Then He smiled at me.

He watched for the approval of the King. As a recovering people-pleaser, I so long to live only for the approval of the King. I think of the “audience of one” that I want to focus on, leaving the approval of man behind.

Several scriptures come to mind as I ponder the truths in this song:

Colossians 3:23 “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.”

Hebrews 13:16 “And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.”

Galatians 1:10 “Am I now trying to win the approval of man? Or of God?  Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.”

Romans 12:1 “In view of God’s mercy, offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God, this is your spiritual act of worship.”

I am also reminded of the widow told of in Luke 21 who gave two very small copper coins as an offering for the temple treasury. Jesus commended her, saying she had given more than all the others. “All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”

Lord, I come as the poor little drummer boy to offer all you’ve given me back to your service. I come as the poor widow with all I have to live on. May I serve you with all my heart, mind, soul and strength. Take all that I am for Your Glory. May my offering please the King.

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To Be Like Mary

Mary

I woke this morning on a pillowtop mattress under the warmth of my down comforter. She woke that morning on a bed of scratchy hay, covered loosely in dirty stable blankets.

My first born was delivered under medical care in a sterile hospital room. Hers came in a crude barn into the rough hands of her frightened husband.

My marriage followed a lovely ceremony with family and friends. Hers began in private surrounded by confusion and controversy.

In many ways, Mary’s story and mine are incomparable, yet I have seen several ways they are alike.

She was given a task greater than herself, and I too am unqualified for the work God has called me to do.

She delivered the Messiah to a dark hurting world. God asks me to bring light with my words and deeds.

She knew mercy would be given to those who would receive it. “His mercy extends to those who fear Him.”

She knew her greatest peace would come in surrendering to God’s will. “May it be to me as you have said.”

Her soul found strength in glorifying God. “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.”

And she knew only God could understand all of her emotions. “But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.”

These are all truths I long to be written on my heart as well.

Her journey was long with many challenges along the way. So, too, mine often feels overwhelming.

Her heart was fragile, yet fully trusting of God’s good will for her life.

Her faith was beyond her years, and her strength was from deep within.

I find in the Christmas story that I continually look to Mary. I want to be like her. I want my heart to trust like hers. I want my soul to be as strong as hers. I want my purpose, like hers, to be bringing Christ to a world in need.

May we share her humility and her simplicity.

May we have her faith.

May we follow her submissive heart.

May we find strength in rest and trust.

May we resign our will to God’s alone.

“For the Mighty One has done great things for me- Holy is His name.” Luke 1:49

Hope Rejoices in Trying

volleyball-pic

Seventh grade volleyball tryouts are brutal. The stress of 80 middle school girls trying out for a team with only 30 spots is almost unbearable- for the girls trying out, and for their mothers. I remember this from my own middle school experience, and I have recently relived it with my daughter. I remember my father cheering me on by saying “all you can do is do your best,” words I spoke to my daughter as well. Go out and give it your best shot, and whether you make it or not, you will know you gave it all you had.

Unfortunately, this time around, my daughter’s best wasn’t enough to make the team, and she was devastated.  (So was I). Both our hearts were broken, but we could begin to find peace in looking back knowing she had done her best. She had tried her hardest, and she could wrestle back to accepting the outcome knowing she had given her all. Thankfully her young faith could begin to see that God must have had another good plan in mind. She could rest knowing she had learned from the experience, trusting God to bring her to a better place.

There is a line in the song “I Will Be Here” by Steven Curtis Chapman that says, “I will be here when the laughter turns to crying, through the winning, losing and trying.”  Winning, losing and trying. A simple view of our lives, but yes, sometimes we win and sometimes we lose, all the while we just keep on trying.

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know you that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.  Colossians 3:23-24

Scripture clearly calls us to work, to try, to give our best shot at honoring Christ with our lives. As we are faithful to put forth our heart, soul, mind and strength to love and obey Him, He is faithful to carry us through.

On this parenting journey, I have definitely seen some wins, and I have definitely seen some losses.  I can look back and rest knowing I learned from those experiences, and grew in faith to trust God to bring me to a better place.  Even on days of defeat, there is peace in faithful trying.

We can sometimes look back and get discouraged by those days of defeat. We can be tempted to blame and doubt and heap guilt on ourselves wishing we had done something different. But we have to remember that we did all we knew to do at the time. When it comes to our children, of course we gave it our best shot at the time.  We have to trust the outcome to God, knowing He had another good plan in mind.

Our walk with the Lord is just that- a walk. Not a sprint. We have to settle in for the long haul of walking through life in His grace. Along the journey we will encounter many ups and downs. We can find greater joy as we see glimpses of His glory in small victories along the way.

Finally, brothers, rejoice, be made complete, be comforted, be like-minded, live in peace and the God of love and peace will be with you.  2 Corinthians 13:11

The NIV translates “be made complete” with “aim for perfection.”  We are called to set our sights on following the holiness of God, while knowing that only He is holy. We can rejoice on the journey of striving to do our best, while accepting His grace that covers our sins and shortcomings.

I want to settle in to the long haul of walking with Christ through this temporary life. I want to be faithful to what He has for me here. I want to find joy in the journey of trying.