Jesus: My Hope Chest

Luke 21:4 All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.

Aiko was the church secretary.  It wasn't a glamorous job but it paid her bills and left a little over each month to save for a dowry.  When Aiko became a Christian her parents had disowned her.  Following Jesus meant she had committed an unforgivable family disgrace.  This also meant she could never marry unless she could save enough money on her own to pay the sizable cost of a dowry.  She had been saving for ten years and had finally accumulated enough funds.

When Aiko's small church ran out of space and wanted to expand, the church planned a capital campaign to raise the funds so no loan would be necessary on the new, larger space.  The kick-off of the fund raiser came and the pastor invited families to come lay their gifts on the alter.  Aiko had no family.  She walked the aisle alone to present her offering.  She gave every cent she had saved for her dowry.

This morning's chapter is Matthew 19.  This passage is filled with several teachings by Christ.  From the sanctity of marriage to the value of children, it is clear that our heavenly Father values families.  At the end of this section a young man approaches Jesus.  We don't know whether he was married or had a family but unlike Aiko he could have afforded as many dependents as he wished.  He was rich. 

Like so many, this young man wrongly assumed that following Jesus is a list of "dos".  He wanted to know what action was required to earn a spot in heaven.  God does not pass out tickets to heaven based on good behavior.  As Jesus rightly notes, "there is only one who is good" (God).  (Verse 17) 

Jesus sees this gentleman's heart.  He may have loved Jesus but he loved his wealth more.  Jesus tells this youngster to sell all he has and give it to the poor.  This young adult left sorrowful.  Jesus had asked more than he was willing to give.

When Aiko walked the aisle with her pledge, she likely forfeited any chance that she would ever be a bride on earth.  Her devotion to Jesus outweighed the dream of a family with whom to share her life.  She chose a groom who would never forsake her - one truly worthy of her love and devotion.  She knew that Jesus could never ask more than she could afford to give.

Jesus, You are worthy of any sacrifice.  In fact, when I give something to You it isn't actually a sacrifice.  It is a delight.  Today help me have a heart like Aiko that withholds nothing from You.  Jesus, You are my hope chest.

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