This past Thursday (Valentine’s Day) I arrived at work, ready (for once) for a crazy party day. The parents had all signed up to bring food, and I had all the other necessary materials, including a pre-meditated schedule of events.
When I opened the door to pick up my students from another teacher, two of them spied me and immediately started talking. As soon as I heard the pitch of their voices and saw their wide eyes, I knew they were really excited.
Not being much of a party person myself, I had thought, “We’ll have a party. It’ll be nice. Whatever.” I was mostly excited about the food—a menu I had strategically crafted to include the minimum amount of sugar required to still be considered a party. (Okay, so maybe I was excited about all the heart stuff too because hearts are just happy.) But anyway, I inwardly marveled how 3-year-olds could be so excited about a little party.
But it wasn’t just the party they were excited about.
As I listened, I discovered two little hearts excited about the presents they had brought for me and for the other kids. Most of their excitement stemmed, not from the fact that we were having a party, but from the fact that they had brought presents for us.
I can’t describe to you how appreciated I felt as my students exclaimed over and over about the gifts they had brought me, wondering if it was time for the party yet so I could open them. (One of the girls, who always tries to be the teacher, kept giving me permission to open mine. 🙂 ) And it didn’t even matter to me that I couldn’t eat any of the sweets they gave me (blood sugar problems). The joy on their faces was worth far more than anything tangible they could have given. Honestly, with that kind of excitement, I think they could have handed me a piece of trash, straight out of the trash can, and I would have loved it.
The Lord has used the experience to give me a glimpse of His heart toward us. We don’t have anything that God needs. We don’t have anything that He hasn’t given us first. And we definitely don’t have anything that comes remotely close to what He is truly worthy of. And yet our gifts—however small or crumpled or unoriginal—are precious to Him when given with a happy heart.
Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
2 Corinthians 9:7