My Gift to the Queen
"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did it for me.'"1
I have read that Queen Mary made a regular visit to Scotland every summer, and how, on "one occasion she was strolling with a group of school children. Suddenly the sky turned gray and thick, and dark clouds appeared. The queen stopped at a nearby house and asked if she might borrow an umbrella. She told the lady of the house, 'I'll send it back to you tomorrow.'
"The lady was reluctant about lending a good umbrella to a total stranger, but she remembered that she had an old one up in the attic. One rib was broken and there were several ragged holes in it, but she nevertheless turned it over to this lady at her front door with a weak apology.
"The next day there was another knock at the door. This time, when she opened it, a man in gold braid stood with a big envelope in hand. 'The queen sent me,' he said, 'and asked me to thank you for the umbrella.' For a moment the woman stood motionless—speechless, but then burst into tears. Finally she cried, 'Oh! What an opportunity I missed that I didn't give her my best!'"
How embarrassing! But how often, I wonder, do I give Jesus my second best—or even my leftovers?
In younger days—much less tactful ones—when I was the pastor of a small church, as we didn't have a janitor, I was cleaning the church. The vacuum cleaner we had was next to useless and I said to myself, "I'll bet one of the members gave this to the church because it wasn't any good to them."
I reported this thought to the church officers at our next meeting. Oops! Deathly silence followed!. I was right. It was a gift from one of the key families in the church! But we did get a new vacuum cleaner!
Let's not give Jesus the King of kings our broken umbrellas, nor our leftovers—whether it's time, talents, gifts, or money. Let's give him our first-fruits—not our last-fruits.
In the words of the old hymn: "Give of your best to the Master; Give him first place in your heart; give him first place in your service; Consecrate every part. Give him the best that you have."2
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, in thanksgiving for Your great love-gift to me and Your so-great salvation, grant that I will always have the grace to give You the best that I have to give. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus's name, amen."
1. Matthew 25:40 (NIV).
2. Mrs. Charles Barnard.