One of my favorite things to do on a cold winter evening is to sit under a nice warm quilt while enjoying a cup of hot tea. I’m very picky about my tea. I don’t like it too strong or too bitter or too cold and over the years I’ve learned to make the perfect cup of tea starting with my very special tea cup. I’ve been using this very same cup for twenty-one years, ever since my, then, seven-year-old son gave it to me for Christmas. It’s your typical dollar store ceramic cup with a child-like drawing on it and the words “My Mom is the Greatest” on one side and a poem on the other:
Roses are red
Violets are blue
I sure am lucky
To have a mom like you!
The words have all but faded from years of use and washing but it doesn’t matter because I can never wear out or wash away the love that gave it to me. Last week I was telling a friend about the memory that comes to mind when I hold this cup in my hands. I’d taken the cup to my workplace—just a little reminder of him to keep with me through the day. A few weeks later, I had decided to have an evening cup of tea at home and he was hurt that I wasn’t using his gift. I explained that I took it to work to show it off to all my coworkers but it didn’t soothe his disappointment because he couldn’t see me using it and enjoying his gift. So the very next day I brought it home and my nightly tea ritual was born.
This got me to thinking about the gifts that we give to God our Father. Bryan only had the money to buy this precious gift because I gave it to him. Likewise, I have nothing to give our Heavenly Father as an expression of love and gratitude that the His love and generosity didn’t already provide. Just as Bryan had the free will and means to do with what he wanted with the resources I provided, so our Heavenly Father gives me the same freedom. Will I use the life experience, the skills and artistry, the opportunities and resources he’s given me for my own selfish desires or will I put my own love into it and give it back to the Savior and Lord I love.
How can I say this with such certainty? In the Bible, Jesus says, “If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (Mathew 7:11) It occurred to me when I read this (with my tea cup at my side) that if I received my son’s gift with such joy and even now all these years later find great pleasure in his simple gift even though I am evil, then with how much more joy and pleasure will my perfect and holy Heavenly Father have over the simple gifts I offer when they are given with all my heart! It’s not the greatness of the gift that touches God’s heart, but the greatness of the love that gives the gift, no matter how small the gift may seem.