When it comes to yummy treats, children often don’t want to share.
When my father was a little boy, he and his brother would almost come to blows when it was time for dessert. There would be loud protests if one brother thought he was getting a smaller slice of pie.
So my grandparents came up with a rule: one brother would cut the pieces, and the other would get to choose his portion first.
The idea behind this arrangement was that if the pieces had been cut unequally by the first brother, the other would take advantage of this and choose the larger slice. So the boy cutting the pieces would want to make sure that they were as close in size as possible.
My dad or his brother would actually use a protractor to cut the pie to ensure that each slice was exactly the same angle. Each was determined not to let his brother get a larger piece!
This is a humorous story, but the attitude it portrays can linger in our thoughts as we become adults.
It can even affect how we view God’s beneficence.
We’re somehow afraid that when God divvies things up, there won’t be enough for us. We think that if God gives someone else certain blessings or gifts, it will mean less is available for us.
But God’s economy doesn’t work this way—it’s not a zero sum game.
Did you climb trees when you were a child? (Or do you still?)
As a bit of a tomboy in my childhood, I was an inveterate tree-climber.
But I quickly learned that some trees were a lot easier to climb than others.
Some trees have rough bark, prickly needles or sticky, oozing sap: I wouldn’t even bother trying to climb those. Other trees might have smooth bark, but their branches were too close together or too high off the ground for a child to manage.
The old apple tree in my backyard was perfect, however. It had been climbed by generations of neighbourhood kids, with the result that much of the bark on the best branches had been worn smooth by little hands.
Its limbs had open architecture, making them as welcoming to children as open arms. And they were low enough to the ground that even the youngest tyke could clamber up.
That tree was a magnet for the neighbourhood kids, a favourite spot for us to gather. I have fond memories of it!
As I look back, it seems to me that we as believers should try to be a bit more like that old apple tree.
In recipes, a teaspoonful of an ingredient doesn’t always mean a level teaspoon.
It can be “heaping,” meaning generous enough to form a heap on top, or “scant,” which means barely coming up to the rim of the spoon.
Likewise, a recipe might call for you to press down the brown sugar in a measuring cup so that it’s “packed.” Or it might instruct you to use only a “pinch” of a spice.
But the measures God uses are always generous. The blessings and grace He bestows on us are never meagre or paltry, but plentiful and abundant.