A small gift: Candy
One of my co-workers keeps a heavily stocked candy jar on his desk. Ben’s gift of hospitality is evident in so many things he does, and this candy jar is a part of it. Every single day, one can walk past his desk and know that something chocolate or fruity is available with no expectation in return.
I typically try to live a pretty healthy lifestyle, but that doesn’t mean I have ignored this freely given candy offer. Many times I would stop by his desk to grab a mini Hershey’s bar or a small Twix.
However, that all changed November 7
On the afternoon of November 6, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. At that very moment, as I was sitting in the dr’s office hearing the confirmation of the dreaded “c” word, I mentally made some drastic life changes. Cutting out the candy jar visits was on that list.
My research tells me that sugar is one of cancer’s favorite food. Therefore, it instantly had to become something I hated.
Today, Ben’s candy dish still sits at his desk, stocked, and available for anyone who is interested. I walk near it multiple times a day. I still look at it, and more than once I have been tempted to stop to pick up just one M & M. But I don’t. Why? I’m really passionate about life, and I intend to keep living it for a long time.
Our passions drive us to make strong decisions. And our decisions often chart the course for our future.
What if we looked at our relationship with Jesus the same way? Heaven is not something we can earn through our good works; salvation is a free gift to you and me. But the Bible does outline much direction into how we should live- and our lifestyle choices certainly do have a determination into our fulfilled life in Christ.
Struggling with anger?
Work to stop the negative thoughts toward that person: right. now. Luke 6:45 tells:
Getting rid of angry thoughts toward a person who has wronged you isn’t easy, but just like eating sugar filled candy that can feed cancer, pondering anger and negative thoughts can encourage too many negative things in your own heart and life. So what’s the first step in getting past this anger? Tell the enemy no. Boldly tell the enemy you won’t continue to live like this. Read your Bible. Read daily devotions. Look for God’s guidance in your life. And connect with a trusted, Christian friend. Possibly a Christian counselor will be a necessary step as well. Don’t let anger eat you alive.
Struggling to help others?
This isn’t about the act of helping. We all help others, and if you’re a parent, then you are continually helping- your children, your spouse, your school teacher, your church, etc.. This is about the heart of helping. Deuteronomy 15:10 says,
Do you find yourself doing instead of serving? If yes, write down everything you “do for others” and determine what has to happen (like feeding and raising your children) and what you are doing out of obligation. Ask God to show you your true giftings and how to use those. We can’t get out of certain obligations: like raising our kids, but there are other areas where plugging in with your natural talents, as opposed to just filling a volunteer slot, can turn the chore of helping others into the joy of serving though a passion.
I begrudgingly will continue my plan to avoid Ben’s candy dish. My fight to kick the cancer out of my body is real and I’m on a valiant plan to be strong- so I have incentive to not cheat in this area. But let’s set aside my situation and look at something bigger.
Ben takes it upon himself to stock his candy jar. He fills it with the kinds of candy people like to eat (meaning, Twix bars, M & M’s, Hershey’s, Skittles. He vetoes the use of fake M & M’s because he wants those who visit the jar to receive the best.)
Ben asks for nothing in return and delights in knowing that those who come to the TV station get to benefit from this free gift.
This is just a minute (tiny) picture of the enormous reality of what God offers to us. God sent His very very best- His son Jesus to earth to live as a human. That very very best- His son Jesus, died on a cross for us, and then rose again. The devil was defeated and despite sin still remaining in this world, and affecting us, the gift of forgiveness is available to all. It doesn’t matter how much a person has done in her or her past, forgiveness is free; it is real; and just like the well stocked candy dish, it is available immediately, and without expected payment in return.
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