Thursday, September 22, 2011

A sacrifice that costs

Lately I feel like a broken record.  This blog seems to be about a couple of things--the vississitudes of Grampie and the clearing out and casting off of our ridiculous piles of extraneous goods.  But life being what it is, this isn't the day to hop ship.

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I was jettisoning some of teapot collection. I sent off dozens that had no meaning to me, then left the rest sitting on my table for a week while I gathered the will and heart to let them go.  Each day I'd walk past them, out onto our deck and try not to think of what they meant to me.  The places they came from, the people who'd given them to me.  The history.  My teapots come from very continent but Antarctica (and a teapot made from ice would actually melt from the hot tea, right?), and from beloveds from so many, many parts of my personal history.  Then I'd walk around my house trying to figure out how I could fit these pots into a few more places, could hold onto them and use them and...well, and just plain have them for myself.

But after one such trip past all those pots, I sat down at the piano and played a few bumbling praise songs.  And words from scripture began to reverberate through my brain, the way they do when I worship, when God comes in and sits beside me.  It's a holy kind of thing, that unexpected word.  I'd love it to be a daily occurence.  Pray for it, but will take it when I get it, and say thank you.  As I did that day. By the time I got up from the piano I knew exactly what I had to do with those teapots.  And I mean with the most meaningful of them.  I'd been thinking of giving a few pots to people, but just my castoffs.  But God hit me hard with His word. 

Here's scripture:  David, at the end of 2 Samuel, wants to build an altar to worship the Lord.  He offers to buy a threshing floor from a man.  The man, completely in awe of the king (and who wouldn't be, I mean, he is the king, after all), says, "Oh, I'll give you the threshing floor for your altar."  But David says, "NO.  I will not offer a sacrifice to God which costs me nothing."  A sacrifice that costs.

It's easy enough to give when it's easy.  I walked away from the piano, over to the table and was suddenly rearranging the groups of teapots, so that each one I gave away was actually one that hurt to lose.  It might seem odd to you to think of teapots in such a way, but for me that day, it fit.  I began to look at my most prized teapots--from Copenhagen, Tanzania, Russia, China, Indonesia and the UK--and prayerfully consider which teapot would bless which of my beloveds most. 

And it's been good.  Not easy, but very good.  I pack teapots into boxes and wander around whispering, "I will not offer to God that which costs me nothing."  And God reminded me of these words the other day when I was praying for Grampie.  His room at the nursing facility was so sterile, so white and blah and really ugly.  I was sitting on my bed...and the next thing I knew I was pulling the quilt off my half of my bed.  I'd made that quilt specifically for MY half of our large bed because I'm always colder than Beve and I wanted a quilt just the size to cover just my half.  Ancd that extra long, twin-sized quilt now covers Grampie, and he loves it.  He's completely thrilled by it.  A sacrifice that costs.

But these sacrifices that cost.  They do lead to the best opportunity to give to God, to worship, to please Him.  Every day we have opportunities to give. And usually we only do so when it's easy, especially for us in the middle class of the west.  But we need to learn to give until it hurts.  And then keep on giving.  I need to learn this.

I will not offer to God that which costs me nothing.
I will not offer to ANYONE that which costs me nothing.

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