Ministry Resources

The Dirty Glass

Author: Nancy A. Stevens

A mother was working in her garden on a muggy August day.

Madison, her 5-year-old daughter, watched her stop every few minutes and wipe the sweat from her brow. Wanting to help, the little girl ran inside to the kitchen to get her mother a glass of cool water.

As she looked around the kitchen, she realized that all the clean glasses were in the cabinet above the sink. So, she started to drag a chair from the table over to the sink, but then she remembered her mother had told her that she must never stand on a chair. However, she really wanted to do something to make her mother feel better.

“I can use my juice glass!” she exclaimed out loud. Madison retrieved her glass from the sink. Her sticky little fingers had clasped it a few hours earlier at breakfast.

As she filled the glass to the rim with tap water, she said excitedly, “Mommy will be so happy to have a cool drink.”

With joyful anticipation and a big smile on her face, the little girl returned to the garden and presented the glass to her mother.

“Oh, thank you, Madison. How thoughtful of you!” The mother eagerly took the glass and drank every drop, ignoring the sticky fingerprints and leftover orange pulp floating in the water. “That was the best glass of water I’ve ever had!” she told her daughter as she hugged her.

The mother graciously accepted her daughter’s best effort not because of the quality of the gift, but because of the heart attitude of the giver.

Gifts for God

God is our loving parent and we are His children.

Our greatest sacrifice or act of goodness is just a dirty glass of water in His perfect sight; however, He doesn’t focus on the quality of the gift but on the motive. When we have an attitude of loving obedience, He graciously accepts our sacrifice, worship, and service.

At times we might be tempted to think, If I compromised just a little and did things the way everyone else does, I could give more money or time to God. Perhaps I could even win more people to the Lord.

But just as the prophet Samuel told King Saul after Saul had disobeyed God’s explicit command, God desires our obedience more than our sacrifices. “To obey is better than sacrifice” (1 Samuel 15:22, NIV). The greatest and best sacrifice we can give our Heavenly Father is to wholeheartedly obey whatever He asks us to do. Then, just as He turned the water into wine at the marriage feast in Cana, He somehow transforms our dirty glass of water into a gift that produces eternal rewards.

Father, help us to remember that although You are the Ruler of the universe and beyond our finite understanding, You still love and welcome us. You see what others cannot see: a heart that yearns to please You and bring You joy.

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