A Humbling Gift

Father’s Day was Sunday. As I write this, it is Monday evening, since I’m writing a day ahead right now. I don’t normally like to brag on my kids, but I have to share what my son did. It brought tears to my eyes. Let me explain.

Right now we’re at a missions camp. There’s nothing more gratifying to me right now than being at a missions camp with my boys. This is my second year and we’re having a blast. Me and the oldest son are working in sports evangelism. We’re going to try and use soccer to reach kids for Jesus Christ. My middle child, and youngest son, is on a work team, getting down and dirty. So I guess me and my oldest have got the easy job because we both love soccer. But I digress. This tale begins with tickets. The campers receive tickets when they do things well. Each ticket is worth ten cents at the camp canteen. Fifty cents will get you a soda or a candy bar or a pack of candy. Getting five tickets since Saturday, when we got here, means you’ve really had to be working hard and trying to set the example. My youngest son earned five tickets and promptly bought a pack of candy. But here’s the thing: he didn’t buy them for himself. As we were leaving dinner tonight to go back to the nightly rally, he walked up to me and handed me the candy. He said, “I didn’t get a chance to get these for you yesterday, but I was able to buy them today. Happy Father’s Day.” I asked him if he bought them using his own money (the campers are allowed to bring some spending money) or if he bought them using his tickets. He said it was with his tickets. His tickets. The ones he worked so hard for. The ones we give the campers so they can buy themselves a reward. And he turned around and used them not for himself, but for me. You want to talk about humbling?

Now, brethren, we wish to make known to you the grace of God which has been given in the churches of Macedonia, that in a great ordeal of affliction their abundance of joy and their deep poverty overflowed in the wealth of their liberality. For I testify that according to their ability, and beyond their ability, they gave of their own accord, begging us with much urging for the favor of participation in the support of the saints, and this, not as we had expected, but they first gave themselves to the Lord and to us by the will of God. – 2 Corinthians 8:1-5, NASB

My youngest son gave from a position of poverty. The tickets were the only real physical thing of value he had. And he quickly traded them in for a gift to me. And he did so joyously. As he gave me the candy, I could tell there was no motive behind the gift other than he wanted to give me something because it was Father’s Day. And he didn’t give me the gift begrudgingly, either. It was something he truly wanted to do. And it was a gift I will always remember. He earned the ability to buy that candy. And he earned the ability by working hard and showing the right characteristics. And rather than consuming a well-deserved reward, he passed it on to me. So needless to say, I’m beyond proud of him. But I am also humbled by his example because in comparison, I sit in a position of great abundance. And I have to think about how generous I’ve been. And that’s what’s so humbling.

When we’re surrounded by what really is abundance, it’s easy to forget that not everyone has the things we do. It doesn’t take much to lose sight of the fact that the blessings we possess are given to us by God for His service and especially for His glory. It usually takes a shot to the chin like the one my son unintentionally delivered for us to remember. Am I being a good steward of the things God has provided me with? Am I honoring Him in the best way I can? Am I using my resources wisely to do the things He wants for me to do? Am I looking for opportunities to share and touch people? Am I reaching out just because I love others? Or do I have an agenda? My son didn’t. He gave of what he had because he loved me. Is my giving and my loving and my caring for others that transparent and that sincere? It is supposed to be. Because that describes how God is towards us. And we’re supposed to be just like Him. I know I have a lot of work to do. And if I take nothing else home from this missions camp, I will have been taught a very important lesson from God through my son. God is good, even when we’re not.

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