Love offerings

There was a knock on my door, so faint I nearly missed it. I opened it to find my five-year-old neighbor, looking up at me. “I picked this for you!” she said with a smile, as she handed me an azalea flower from my own bush. Inside the blossom she had stuck a bud from one of my husband’s pansy plants. “It’s lovely!” I exclaimed. “I have never seen anything like it!” “Nope!” she beamed. “It’s one of a kind!” Then, she skipped down the steps, happily moving on to her next adventure. I put her creative offering in a little bud vase, where it lasted for two days – a
welcome reminder that I am loved. In my closet, I have a tub full of such offerings; a leaf pressed between sheets of waxed paper, construction paper hearts, a turtle carved from a bar of soap. When I take them out and look at them, I can still see the tiny hands that created it, still feel the little arms hugging my neck, still see the bright faces with the proud smiles as they offered up their treasures. Is there anything better than being the recipient of a child’s love? It doesn’t matter how imperfect the gift. In fact, the more lopsided and rickety it is, the more endearing it becomes! The gifts grow with the child and too soon, the spindly, homemade ones turn into the store bought kind and the tub is put away for the days when you need a warm memory. Does God have a storehouse in heaven for the treasures he has stored up from us – imperfect creations we have handed him, plucked from his own bush? Does God sit on his great throne in heaven and carefully lift up some small offering we have made and remember the day it was given? Can God see how we have matured in our faith journey by the quality of our gifts? I believe so. Patience, kindness, goodness, love, joy, peace, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control – the gifts of the Spirit – these are the things we offer to our God when we come knocking on heaven’s door. And, like any loving parent, I believe God receives our love offerings with great tenderness, and those that are imperfect become perfect in his eyes, simply because God loves us.