By Karl Lee
I like a good story, how about you? I find that some stories just stick in your head and at times sort of pop up in your mind. Of course a good story always begins with, “Once upon a time” This is one of them:
Once upon a time there was a man who had nothing and God gave him ten apples. God gave him three apples to eat, three apples to trade for shelter from the elements of the weather, and three apples to trade for clothing to wear. The last and tenth apple he gave to the man so he could it give it back to God in gratitude for the other nine.
The man ate the first three apples. The next three apples he traded for shelter from the sun and the rain. The last three apples he traded for clothing to wear. Now it came to the tenth apple; the apple he was to give back to God in gratitude. The man looked at the tenth apple and it was the reddest, biggest, juiciest looking of all the apples. The man began to reason that God had all the other apples in the world…so he ate the tenth apple and gave back to God the core!
Isn’t it amazing that God provides us with enough apples to supply our needs and often more than our needs. Yet we find ourselves reluctant to give back to God generously a portion of what He has given to us.
Looking back at the story we might consider the blessing the man could have received had he not only given back to God the tenth apple but also one of the other apples. It is not that he was deprived of his lifestyle as he had shelter, food and clothing it was self-love was greater than love and gratitude to God.
Do you remember the story in Luke 21 of the rich men and the poor widow putting money into the temple treasury? The rich men had given from their abundance; the poor widow gave all she had. What was Jesus’ comment toward her? He said, “She has given more than all of them.” How can that be? Because she gave from her heart, cheerfully and generously.
If we can only pause long enough to remember it is God who owns everything and has granted us the privilege of managing a portion of it. We can take a lesson from the man in the story. His reasoning was erroneous. He acknowledge that God had all the other apples in the world. Where he erred was his failure to acknowledge God also owned the apples he gave the man for his subsistence.
Not out of our abundance should we give back to God what is His, but also out of a willing and cheerful heart.
The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world and all who live in it. Psalm 24:1