But I Really Don't Want ToBy: Samantha Reed
"You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me." Mark 10:21b (ESV)
I had some priorities misplaced. I'd known this for some time, but didn't fully recognize it until a trip to El Salvador with Compassion International.
I met two children on a home visit. They lifted their tarp door and invited me in. Into mud puddles and dirt walls with just one bed where five rested their heads at night. One bed for dreaming dreams of being a doctor and a police officer.
They filled my hands, not with silver or gold, but with selfless love. Love shared in stories and smiles and what few tangible gifts they owned.
I'd come to extend gifts myself; gifts of detergent and food. But their gift exceeded anything I had to offer: a tiny beaded bracelet smudged with dirt, drenched in love. They wanted it to be mine.
Feeling too shy to hand it to me herself, the girl nudged her brother. He presented it to me as if it were a royal crown and gently slid it on my wrist. I declare, diamonds couldn't match the worth of their hearts, their gift in that moment.
The next morning as I was getting ready I felt a nudge. Give your bracelet away like those children gave theirs to you. You see, I had another precious bracelet with me. One my dad had given me over twenty years ago. Just a simple wooden bracelet from South Africa, but it meant the world to me.
How could I part with it? I wrestled with indecision. My heart soared, anticipating the moment I'd spot a little girl or mama to give my bracelet. But then my heart sank, anxious at the thought of giving up one of my most precious treasures.
And there lay the problem. My misplaced treasure.
Please, don't judge me.
I'm embarrassed ... actually more than that … heartbroken. I'm sick to say I couldn't give it away. Couldn't? No, more like I wouldn't. Both bracelets journeyed back to the United States.
One bearing selflessness; the other, selfishness.
I thought I was really something, bringing gifts to those kids in the form of beans and rice, soap and smiles. Little did I know, I was the one in need. I needed God's mercy, and am so glad it's available. I needed new perspective. I don't want possessions if I'm not willing to use them to love others.
More than anything though, I needed the one thing I lacked ... more love for the Lord than for my belongings. My heart held tighter to my bracelet than to what God had asked me to do. He beckoned, "give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven." A seemingly simple request, yet so difficult for me to follow.
You know the crazy thing? I lost my dad's bracelet. Isn't that the way it is with earthly treasures? We can never really hold on to them for long.
The day I realized my bracelet was missing, I decided then that I don't want to be lacking in love for the Lord or those He cares for. And the next time God asked me to give, I would give it all.
In ways only He could orchestrate, I had that opportunity. Two years later I was invited back to El Salvador with Compassion International. And this time I went with hands and heart wide open. I gave what He asked me to, each time He asked. From mercy to a smile to a shirt, I didn’t hold back.
I don’t want it to stop there though. I want to continue looking for opportunities to give to others while keeping my eyes on our heavenly treasure, Jesus. Are you with me?
About the Author
Samantha Reed is on continual journey to give her “all.” Whether encouraging women through her jobs at Proverb 31 Ministries as executive assistant, assistant editor for “Encouragement for Today” devotions, and She Seeks Coordinator, mentoring others over coffee or gardening, or giving her bracelet away, Samantha finds saying “yes” to the Lord is a true joy. Join her at samanthareed.org as she chronicles her “Year of Yes” adventures with God.