A New Year is upon us. What a challenge! What a moment! What a privilege! What an opportunity! And especially is it an opportunity to give it all you’ve got. Doing your bit as wholeheartedly as you can will not just bless you, but it will bless many others. You have something to bring to society, to the Church, to your family. Won’t you bring it with all you’ve got. And then watch what happens!
I am told that once upon a time there was much excitement in an Indian city for the rajah of the province was to pass through. Among the excited citizens awaiting his arrival was a poor beggar who made his way early that day to the street along which the rajah would ride on his great and gorgeously apparelled elephant.
Festive spectators were soon giving the beggar handfuls of rice as was the custom. His rice bowl soon filled up. “These people are only giving me rice”, lamented the beggar to himself, “but if I can catch the rajah’s eye, he may give me some gold.”
The rajah finally arrived. “My bowl, my bowl. See my bowl,” yelled the desperate beggar, “out of your bounty and charity, please give me something.” The elephant was halted. The rajah looked down at the pitiful figure and said, “You give me something first.”
The beggar was incensed and frustrated. How could he, a poor, penniless creature, give anything to a great rajah, rich beyond all telling? Angry and disappointed and with very poor grace, the beggar picked from his bowl a single grain of rice and handed it to one of the rajah’s attendants for presentation to his high and mighty lordship.
The procession moved on but as others cheered, the beggar sat weeping in the dust staring dejectedly into his bowl. Suddenly in the bowl he spotted a piece of gold the size of a grain of rice. “Oh, fool, fool, fool that I am,” he wailed, “if only I had given ALL I had.”
Life is much like that. We get out what we put in. We can either stumble in disgruntlement through life like Shakespeare’s schoolboy, “creeping like a snail unwilling to school”, or we can throw ourselves at life and give it all we’ve got.
By tactic number one we get little from life, just a few nuggets which fall from the banqueting table of meaningful existence. By tactic number two, or giving all we’ve got, we find ourselves curiously exhilarated and borne up on the wings of joy. We become rich in fulfilment.
Nowhere is this so true as in our relationship to Christ. Give Him a little grain of the rice of your existence, and you’ll get a nugget back. But give Him all and He gives back in lavish and divine abundance. This is true in spiritual terms especially. Said Jesus, “He who loses his life for my sake (i.e. surrenders it to me) will find it” (Matthew 10:39).
It is also true materially, emotionally and psychologically. The person who sees all his financial resources, talents and time as Christ’s will know God’s faithful provision in all those areas. Jesus put it this way, “Give and it will be given to you; good measure; pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For the measure you give will be the measure you get back” (Luke 6:38). God is no person’s debtor, whether spiritually or materially.
To give, whether in care, compassion or material help is, of course an extension and expression of giving to Christ. Jesus said and meant it when He adjudged, “giving more blessed” than receiving. That’s not just a pretty idea. It’s a law of life.
Giving all you’ve got to life, to Christ and others, is the way to end impoverished living. Otherwise you’ll end up only with, “If only’s”.
So come on. Empty the bowl!