Sunday, September 8
1 Samuel 8:15, 17, 19: “He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vintage and give it to his officials and attendants. He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves. But the people refused to listen to Samuel. ‘No!’ they said. ‘We want a king over us.’”
In our day-to-day lives, we can all agree that we can do some “give and take.” There are times when we have a natural tendency to take things. We hold on to something we should share. We do what is best for ourselves, even if it causes harm to someone else. But, we can also be generous at times. We give gifts to a loved one. We share life-giving advice with a friend. In these times of generosity, we often find ourselves on the receiving end of more joy and blessing than we gave. There is a reason why Jesus said, “It’s better to give than to receive!”
We learned in the previous devotionals this week that the Israelites demanded a king to rule over them. This displeased Samuel because he knew their motives were self-centered. He knew they were focused on what they could get rather than what they could give. The irony is that when they followed their own desires rather than God’s desires, they ended up giving more than they ever intended. They exchanged freedom for slavery. They were led by a king who took from them rather than following the King (God) who wanted to give them everything.
The same thing happens to us. When we choose to follow our own plan, we will end up giving up things we never intended. But when we follow God, we will discover that it’s impossible to outgive him.
Right now, make a fist with your hand like you’re holding on to something you will not let go. Think about that thing you’re holding onto instead of giving it to God. Now, let go and open up your hand. Give it up to God, whether it be your finances, time, decisions, etc. How freeing does this feel? We are meant to give our whole self to God because he’s in control!
Dear God, I choose to give my whole self to you in all I do. I know that giving is better than receiving and your ways are above my ways. Help me to surrender to your will for my life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.