At My Gate Sunday

In his book Seismic Shifts: The Little Changes That Make a Big Difference in Your Life Kevin Harney tells the following story:

A little boy sat on the floor of the church nursery with a red rubber ball in each arm and three Nerf balls clenched on the floor between his pudgy little knees. He was trying to protect all five from the other children in the nursery. The problem was, he could not hold all five at once, and the ball nearest to his feet was particularly vulnerable to being stolen. So, whenever another child showed an interest in playing with one of the balls, he snarled to make it clear these toys were not for sharing.

I suppose I should have stepped in and made the little guy give up one or two of the balls, but I was too wrapped up in the drama of it all. For about five minutes, this little guy growled, postured, and kept the other children away from the balls. Like a hyena hunched over the last scraps of a carcass, this snarling little canine was not in the mood for sharing. The other kids circled like vultures around the kill, looking for a way to jump in and snatch a ball without being attacked and bitten. I honestly did not know whether to laugh or cry as I watched.

Then it struck me: This little boy was not having any fun at all. There was no cheer within ten yards of this kid. Not only was he unhappy, but all the other kids seemed sad as well. His selfishness created a black hole that sucked all of the joy out of that nursery…. When church was over and his parents came to pick him up, he left the balls behind. I guess the old saying is true, you can't take it with you.

Blessed are those who outgrow their possessiveness, for they are able to relax.  I’ll bet you can identify with that boy trying so desperately to control and hang on to everything.  I can.  I have felt that tightness, that guardedness.  I have felt the anger and fear that come with a lack of generosity.  What a blessing it is when I’m able to let go of something and experience trust that God will more than provide for all of my needs.

This Sunday is At My Gate Sunday—a day where we highlight the work that’s being done by our partners at the Use Offot Church of Christ in Nigeria.  The funds we share with them have the opposite effect of the actions of the boy in the story.  Because you are willing to sacrifice a little bit, a great deal of good work is being done.  People are getting medical help, children are getting an education and young people are learning a trade.