This morning as I was eating my grapefruit, things became a little messy. I probably need to explain that I eat my grapefruit like an orange. I peel it and then I go a bit further than most. I continue on and peel the inner skin as well. It only leaves the pulp and all I can say is that it is super yummy. Strange to some of you, and yes, it’s a lot of prep work, but …mmmmm….only grapefruit pulp? Well worth it. As you can imagine though, it gets quite messy at times. (I actually won’t eat citrus in public so my family won’t crawl under the table in embarrassment.)
As I was eating my grapefruit, I had already grabbed two paper towels and thought it would be plenty, but this particular grapefruit was extra juicy. Juice was running everywhere! As that lovely grapefruit goodness was running down my arms, I felt like a sticky mess and I began to argue with myself about getting another paper towel. I thought one more would be excessive. I thought it would not be frugal to grab another. ‘What if I have three paper towels with every grapefruit? Wouldn’t my grocery budget explode?’ I thought. Finally, I got up to get another paper towel in order to finish my grapefruit in comfort. As I took hold of it, I thought, ‘God provided these paper towels. Go ahead and use them. He provided them.’ I realized that He had this paper towel roll sitting on the counter just for me for this very moment. He knew I would need extra and it was already there, but I was so worried about having paper towels for the rest of the month, I refused to use the blessing right in front of me. If my God counts the hairs on my head as Matthew 10:30 says, wouldn’t He care about paper towels that I need?
It made me wonder how many times I save, or even hoard, His blessings in the now because I am afraid He won’t provide for me in the future. I don’t say that, but that’s how I live.
Jesus prayed to His Father in Matthew 6 to “give us this day our daily bread”. That’s how we are taught to trust. We need to trust Him for daily provision. But, if I have “bread” stored up for weeks, just in case some tragedy happens, who am I really trusting in? Am I trusting in God, or how smart I’ve been to prepare? I do believe in being responsible, but when God tells us to give, we need to give. That’s what I’m learning.
I am finding that when I refuse to give as God directs, I am telling Him that I don’t trust Him for my future. If He tells me to give a bag of beans to someone and I refuse because I only have one, not two, I am telling Him that I don’t believe He will give me that bag of beans tomorrow, or whenever I need them. When He tells me to give a certain amount to church and I only give a partial amount, I am showing Him (and myself) that my trust only goes so far. He knows my trust level, but this allows me to see clearly, to see that my faith may not be what I thought it was, or say that it is.
Psalm 65:11 says, “Thou hast crowned the year with Thy bounty, and Thy paths drip with fatness.” If I believe that Christ’s bounty is around every corner of this year, why would I hoard anything? If I know His mercies are new every morning as Lamentations 3:22-23 tells me, why am I hoarding mercy for myself and not extending it to others? Why would I not give that mercy to others today?
Deuteronomy 8:7-10 says, “For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, flowing forth in valleys and hills; a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive oil and honey; a land where you shall eat food without scarcity, in which you shall not lack anything; a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills you can dig copper. When you shall eat and are satisfied, you shall bless the LORD your God for the good land which He has given you.” If I really believe He is bringing me into a good land, why would I hold anything back that He is asking me to give?
I’m finding that it’s all about leaving my hands open, not just to receive, but to give. Oftentimes I have only had my hands open to receive, but then I would quickly close them after receiving a blessing and hoard it for my family. Now, I am praying to keep my hands open to give as well as receive.
When my hand is laying open to give, I am finding that I am receiving more as well. I suppose it’s common sense, but I had never realized it before. As my hand lays open, I don’t decide whether I’m giving or receiving so now both can actually happen concurrently. As long as my hand is open to give, it is also open to receive and God allows this continuous flow to take place. Am I giving so I will receive? No! I am giving because I trust in His provision. He may choose to replace those beans I wrote about earlier, or He may choose to make me learn to like rice, or broccoli, or turnips. It’s up to Him and I trust Him.
Psalm 27:13 says, “I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.” We are in the land of the living and we will see the goodness of the Lord if we simply open our eyes and I believe, our hands as well.
So, grab a grapefruit today, get three whole paper towels. Eat it like an orange and rest assured that your God will provide. In fact, He is providing for you this very minute. He is designing your future. He is integrating relationships in your life that you never imagined were still possible. He is restoring your health and vitality. He is growing your business. He is crowning your year with goodness. It may be with daily bread, or cups running over, but His sovereign hand has you exactly where you need to be. He is here. What more do you need?