(This week I’m including the original song “Grace Unleashed” to accompany the blog. Enjoy!)

Last weekend my wife Terese and I had the fun privilege of spending time with all our grandkids—not all at one time (we’re not that energetic!) but in shifts. On Saturday I took Ruby, one of our granddaughters, to the Mall of America while Terese took Ruby’s sister Juneau to a special kids’ event in Minneapolis. Later on, we all met and went for a late lunch at a local fast food restaurant.  Both the girls ordered a meal that included a burger or chicken nuggets, fries, a drink, and a toy. Terese and I each ordered a burger and a cup of water.

Well into the meal we noticed that one of the girls had only eaten a couple of her French fries. I asked her if she would share some of them with Grandma and Grandpa. She shook her head “no” and kept eating everything else BUT the fries! I had a hard time keeping myself from laughing as this went on for a few minutes. I asked her again, and she maintained her stance in guarding the remaining, untouched, soon-to-be-cold fries that remained in her bag.

When I asked a third time, her sister took out a French fry from a nearly empty bag and offered it to us. Seeing this, the younger sister—at first reluctantly, but then more freely—shared some of the uneaten fries with her grandparents.  It was a precious moment watching her become more and more generous with what she had been given, and seeing her joy as we all enjoyed the fries together.

I thought about the fact that, for a time, our granddaughter hadn’t made the connection that the meal she was eating was a gift from Grandpa and Grandma.  It was when she saw her sister give out of love that something clicked inside her and she chose to give as well.  She was rewarded with joy as she saw others nourished by her decision to share.

I realized that, at times, I slip into the mindset that what I have been given is mine alone. It’s easy to forget that everything we have—our health, abilities, jobs, time, and money—are gifts from God. God loves to lavish us with good things not only for our own enjoyment but also so we can experience the joy of giving to others.
Jesus once said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).
I’m convinced He said this so we could experience the deep joy (also known as a blessing) that comes from sharing what God has given to us with others.

I have seen joyful, selfless giving this modeled by some Christ-followers I know and greatly respect. Their example has inspired me to unclench my tightened grip on what I have and instead open up hands to give and share with others. I will attest to the fact there is deep, satisfying joy that comes from giving.

God sits at the table of our lives and smiles when we learn that He is the One who has given us everything so we can trust Him as we give away to others as well.  He won’t force us but loves it when we make the decision to give the way He gives to us.  The Bible puts it this way:

“Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”
2 Corinthians 9:7

In little and big ways, true worshipers of the One True God remember all He has given to us and long to be like Him in every aspect of our lives…

…including sharing French fries!

God bless you!

Chris Atkins