Children pick up stuffed animals after action Israeli figure skater Maxim Shipov at the 2011 World Figure Skating Championships (preliminary round) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Even if you are not a fan of figure skating, just imagine that you are for a moment. If you watched figure skating during the Olympics, you might have noticed that, after each performance, a number of bouquets of flowers and stuffed animals littered the ice, quickly gathered by little girls honored to pick them up for the athletes. Given that most of those bouquets would need to be bought near the Olympic city due to customs restrictions, I’m sure they were very expensive. So while the skaters will sometimes pick one up on their way off the ice, I wonder what happens to all those accolades once they are given to the skaters. Surely most are left in their hotel rooms when they leave.
Now imagine that the stuffed animal that you threw on the ice for your favorite skater gets picked up on the way off the ice, and while waiting for the scores, your favorite skater takes that piece of plush (that looks like something you to get from a claw machine in a restaurant) and gives it a hug. Imagine how special you would feel. You would come home and tell all your friends, “That was a gift from me!”
When you give to others, whether in time, money, or other resources, and you give not out of compulsion or duty, but out of love and respect for God, he not only honors that gift, but he also knows you as the giver and will use that gift in ways that you never could by yourself.
Just as a toy or a bouquet of flowers can never compensate for the years of training required for an Olympic level skater, our offerings to God of what is his in the first place can never compensate him for giving up his Son to save us. But at the same time, he looks at what he has done in us and through us and says to us, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
So the more we give up for others, the more opportunities we will have to see God use those sacrifices to his glory, and we will be able to say, “What an amazing God! Look how he used my little gift and did so much with it!” May God give you many opportunities to sacrifice for others and faith to seize those opportunities so you get to see God working.