We were feeding the ducks at a local park. We'd gotten bread and walked down to the water's edge. I gave Chloe and Cole some bread, then stood by and watched them.
They tore off large pieces - huge pieces - and threw them into the water. They also threw them nowhere near the ducks! Much of their bread soaked up the water and sank, or was gobbled up by the fish.
I, however, was more economical in my use of bread. I tore off one piece at a time, throwing it close to the ducks so they could see it and eat it easily.
While Chloe and Cole ran out of bread in a matter of seconds, I had plenty of bread to spare. So you can imagine what happened. Yep, they started asking me for my bread.
I'd tear off a piece and hand it to them. Then I'd watch as they once again turned and threw it into the water, nowhere near the ducks. Some might say they were wasting the bread, but they really weren't. God was using them to teach me something about him.
God has given me so much. He's given me family, friends, health, freedom. Salvation, peace, joy, mercy, love. The list goes on and on.
He gives them to me just as freely as I gave the bread to my children. And what do I do with these gifts? I waste them. I misuse them. Sometimes I don't even use them at all.
And then after wasting the gifts God gives me, I have the audacity to go to him and ask him to give me more! I know he has plenty. I know he has enough to spare. After all, Scripture tells us he has storehouses of bounty (Deuteronomy 28:12). He owns the cattle on a thousand hills (Psalm 50:10). So I ask him to give me more, give me more, give me more - even though I know I don't deserve it.
What is his response to my request? He gives me a little more. He is so loving, so gracious, he gives and he gives and he gives some more.
This makes me wonder about how well I give. How well do I give when it isn't just bread? How well do I give when it isn't just my kids? How well do I give of my time, my talents, my resources to others? And how do I give of myself to God?
Happily? Without reservation? Or do I grumble and complain; do I give begrudgingly?
My prayer is that as God has given to me, I will give to others - and back to him.
Parrish Myers is pastor of Pine Crest Baptist Church in Gainesville. His column runs every other week in Sunday Life.