Story of the Day for Tuesday January 24, 2012
Give What You’ve Got Left
The gift is acceptable according to what one has, not what he doesn’t have.
2 Corinthians 8:12
Noel Paul Stookey (from the folk-rock group Peter, Paul, and Mary) gave a solo concert in River Forest, Illinois back in the 70s.
As a live performer, Stookey is incomparable. But, on one of his final songs, he broke a guitar string. He never missed a beat, but kept on singing and playing. And then, a second string snapped . . . and still he continued his song.
With two strings dangling wildly, his guitar work didn’t sound quite as full, so we gave him a tepid applause for that song, right?
Are you kidding? The auditorium went wild! We weren’t applauding the quality of his guitar sound; we were applauding his courage to do his best with the four strings he had left.
God doesn’t appraise our efforts by what we wish we could do, but by what we can do.
That’s how you treat other people too, isn’t it? That’s why you’re so delighted with a hand-drawn birthday card from a five-year-old. Even if half the words are misspelled and the drawing of you is less than flattering.
So, why do you judge your own situation so differently? Have you noticed how easily we fall into the habit of comparing our present efforts to what we used to be able to accomplish when we were younger, or what we could do before the accident?
I live up in the mountains of Montana and look out my window at Still Peak. I love to hike to the summit, but, with age, and a massive blood clot, and nerve damage to both my calves, and arthritis in my knees, I can no longer dance up the trail to the summit like I used to.
That’s when I need to remember that God doesn’t care so much about what my body can accomplish; he cares about my heart – what I do with what I’ve got.
My sister once took me and my family to worship at a stately Episcopal church near Detroit. During the celebration of the Eucharist, the people would walk forward to the altar rail to receive Communion.
As we were singing the Communion hymn, we noticed one man as he made his way to the front. He was in an advanced stage of muscular dystrophy and the spastic movement of his limbs made it virtually impossible for him to lurch toward the front.
It took him a long time to make his way to the front, but he was determined, and we would’ve have waited for him until Tuesday. My wife and I weren’t able to continue with the hymn. While he communed I wanted to applaud.
Don’t be sad about what you don’t have. The only gift that God, and the world, wants from you is to give what you’ve got left.
(copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)