I have a great job. I get to travel around telling others about the unconditional love of God and the importance of forgiveness. I’m given a modest remuneration that usually covers the cost of my gasoline. Occasionally, I’ll receive a token of appreciation as well.
The Gift that Wasn’t
Recently, while speaking at a ladies luncheon, the table centerpieces were for sale. They were attractive little potted plants—greenery that would brighten any table setting. The woman who created them gave one to me as she left. I was thrilled! Receiving gifts is my primary love language, and it meant so much to me for her to show her gratitude in that special way.
I strapped the little plant into the seat of my car with the seatbelt firmly around the pot. When I got home, I eagerly showed my husband the pretty little present and sat it in the center of our dining room table. The next morning, I saw that my cat liked the plant, too. She had pulled it out of the dirt to eat the green leaves. I was surprised to see that it had already turned brown and had no root. I poked around in the soil to see if there were any roots. There weren’t. It wouldn’t have lived even if my naughty kitty had left it alone.
As I examined that sorry little brown stick, my heart hurt. I was given a pretty plant that was, in reality, just a branch stuck in dirt. It was meant to look good for just a few hours. Luke 12:2 says, “There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known.”
What was she thinking?
I wondered what the gift giver was thinking. Did she think it would somehow take root? Was she grateful she didn’t have to take the pot back home? Were the other centerpieces just green sticks in dirt, too? People paid money for them—people she saw every month at the luncheons. Didn’t she consider the cost to them or to her—what they would think?
Part of me wished I could stop caring what others think and part of me judged her duplicity. Then, of course, Satan tried to use the situation to bash my self-esteem. “Didn’t she like me? Is this potted stick a commentary on what she thought of my speaking ability?” Remembering that it’s not about me, I promptly released those thoughts.
It’s not my place to judge
Then, nearly as quickly as I judged her, I felt sorry for her. Was she so busy that she didn’t take time to consider how the plants would look the next morning? Was she so concerned about what the others thought of her today that she didn’t consider tomorrow? Was she so overburdened that she didn’t give herself enough time to see if the sticks would take root? “Bless her, Lord.”
I let that incident stand in my heart as a reminder that tomorrow will disclose the motives of today. And also, it’s not my place to judge.
First Corinthians 4:4-6 says, “My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God.”
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