Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Are you giving a carrot or a horse?

Sometime over the past year, I read the following illustration by Charles Spurgeon.....
“Once upon a time there was a king who ruled over everything in a land. One day there was a gardener who grew an enormous carrot. He took it to his king and said, “My lord, this is the greatest carrot I’ve ever grown or ever will grow; therefore, I want to present it to you as a token of my love and respect for you.” The king was touched and discerned the man’s heart, so as he turned to go, the king said, “Wait! You are clearly a good steward of the earth. I want to give a plot of land to you freely as a gift, so you can garden it all.” The gardener was amazed and delighted and went home rejoicing. But there was a nobleman at the king’s court who overheard all this, and he said, “My! If that is what you get for a carrot, what if you gave the king something better?” The next day the nobleman came before the king, and he was leading a handsome black stallion. He bowed low and said, “My lord, I breed horses, and this is the greatest horse I’ve ever bred or ever will; therefore, I want to present it to you as a token of my love and respect for you.” But the king discerned his heart and said, “Thank you,” and took the horse and simply dismissed him. The nobleman was perplexed, so the king said, “Let me explain. That gardener was giving me the carrot, but you were giving yourself the horse.”
The gardener gave me the carrot, you gave yourself the horse…
I have been reminded of this principle time and time again. When I find myself upset with someone's lack of appreciation or lack of acknowledgment for something I have done, that still small voice asks me "Did you give / do that for that person or for yourself?" If I am upset, it is almost certain that I gave / did it for my own gain.
We are to give selflessly and sacrificially just as God gives.
How does God give?
 “He who did not spare he own son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things.” Romans 8:32
I don't know about you, but I am a work in progress. Thankfully, I am aware of this and have learned to ask myself if I am giving a carrot or a horse. That silly question helps me check my heart and my motives.
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