Tom Long tells the story of one of his students who went home to Baltimore and was driving around in his car with his father. As they drove, they talked about the plight of the inner city. Finally, after some time they thought they should call home and tell the rest they were on the way and would be home in time for dinner.
At the edge of the park, they saw a pay phone and began walking toward it (This alone sets this story back a few years, doesn’t it)? A person, who was apparently homeless, approached them and asked, “Do you have any spare change?” The young man’s father had a pocket full of change. He dug it out and held in both hands a lot of change. “Here, take what you need.” The guy couldn’t believe he had been encouraged to take what he needed. He thought, “I’ll take it all.” So, he took all of the man’s change and put it in his pocket.
The young man and his father walked away and about ten steps later realized they had been on their way to the pay phone and had now given away all of their change. The father called back to the homeless man and said, “Excuse me; I just gave you every bit of change I had and I need to make a telephone call. I wonder if I could have just 25 cents back.” The homeless person turned around, put the change in his hand, and said, “Here, take what you need.”
As my friend Tim Spivey reminded me recently, God is a generous giver. God has said to all of us, “Here, take what you need.” Every day we enjoy what actually belongs to him. Now we are in the position to be generous, whether we have our hands full of change or whether we have just a few coins like the widow who put two mites into the treasury. We have the opportunity to reflect the goodness and the mercy of God and to say to the world, “Here, take what you need.”
Now that is our God!
Take what you need.
He is generous. He is giving. He is completely over the top when it comes to caring for you and me. Unbelievable.
The next time I am tempted to be stingy with my encouragement, my forgiveness, my time, or my money, I want to remember that when God deals with us, he gives.
Take what you need.