Don't give God the core

Saturday, July 10, 2004

Once upon a time there was a man and a woman; they had nothing to call their own. Then God gave them 10 apples.

God gave them three apples for food.

God gave them three apples to trade for shelter from the sun and rain.

God gave them three apples to spend for clothing to wear.

God gave them one apple so that they would have something to give back to God to show their gratitude for the other nine apples.

The man and woman ate the three apples. They traded three apples for supplies to build a shelter from the sun and rain. The man and woman spent three apples for clothing. They looked at the 10th apple; it seemed much bigger and juicier than the other nine apples. So, they reasoned that since God already had all the apples in the world, God surely would not miss their one apple. The man and woman ate the 10th apple; they gave God the core.

God has given each of us 10 apples. We have enough apples to supply our every need. Plus, we have one apple to give back to God to show our gratitude and appreciation for God's blessings.

We each have a choice. After we've used up the nine apples for ourselves, do we give God the largest and juiciest apple, which is rightfully his? Will we learn to give God the one apple first, and learn that we can live very well on the other nine apples? Or do we continue to give God the core?

There are people who pride themselves on doing what is right, on paying their debts in full. These same people would feel guilty if they short-changed the clerk at the grocery store, or withheld money from their electric bill. These are people who take delight in showering their children with material blessings. These same people go to church, put the apple core in the offering plate, and don't even feel guilty about it.

God has a right to his 10th. Let's do what's right and give it to him.

Dr. Don Kuehle is a retired United Methodist pastor from Jackson.

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