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Giving Good Gifts
9/27/2013

If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him! Matthew 7:11

I remember as a child being given the promise of discipline from our parents if we did not behave.  But there were also promises of blessing if we, as children, would simply obey.  It’s true, children tend to lean towards obeying because of the blessing they will receive versus the threat of discipline.  I personally believe it is essential for a child to obey solely on the basis of having a heart of obedience, and not because they have a gift awaiting them.  But I also believe there are times when a child should be blessed because they have been obedient and have done their best. 

I remember a few years ago when my wife Carol and I picked up our grandson Titus from school.  It was a Friday and his week was over.  In his class the teacher had implemented a system of three colors and a pin to help the parents to identify how the child was doing in obeying the teacher's commands.  Now this is much different than the boat oar with holes drilled in it for paddling that I experienced in school as a child. 

So the system was set up like this. 

·      Green is for when the child has been obedient and has demonstrated very good listening skills.

·      Yellow is for when the child has been somewhat obedient, and has demonstrated acceptable listening skills.

·      Red is for when the child has not been obedient, and has not demonstrated good listening skills.  And when the child’s nameplate has been taken off and is placed on the chalkboard, and is accompanied by a red mark, then the child has expressed willful disobedience and has not obeyed the teacher.

Each day of school, the children would go through this system of being graded on their ability to listen and obey.  At the end of the week, if they did not acquire any red marks, then they were given the gift of opening a treasure box, where they would pull out a small toy to reward them for their good behavior. 

Another great aspect of the system is the parent is made aware of their child’s propensity to either obey, or to act independently of what they were asked.  This tool gives the parents an idea for the need for correction in their child’s life, thereby avoiding any habitual patterns.

Correct your son, and he will give you rest; Yes, he will give delight to your soul. Proverbs 29:17 (NKJV)

As we sat in the car awaiting Titus, I had a flashback from when our girls were young, and how my wife started a pattern of always making a big deal when Rachel and her sister Shayla did well on their testing.  It seemed as if our girls loved this attention and reward.  And as such, they both excelled in their schoolwork.  On this particular day we had planned on taking Titus to McDonalds to get a happy meal and to play on the playground, as this was what he enjoyed to do.   

When Titus arrived at our vehicle, I could immediately see his countenance was down, and so we asked him how his day had gone.  He said, “good,” but his voice didn’t have his usually fun-natured tone to it.  We asked him what kind of toy he received from the treasure chest, since he had green colors all week long, and it was then he told us he didn’t get to go to the treasure chest because he had received a red color next to his name this day. 

We were bummed for him, and we talked about the reasons why this happened, asking him if he understood why.  The system seemed to be working, and he fully understood the consequences of his actions.  It didn’t mean we didn’t love him; it just meant we were not going to be able to take him to lunch at his favorite place as planned.  In actuality, I think we were more bummed about this turn of events, because we wanted to bless him,

Here's the thing—our Heavenly Father also desires for us to be obedient because we have a heart to be obedient.  But He wants to bless us for our obedience as well (Matt. 5:6).

I want to encourage you to meditate upon these things today.

STUDY QUESTION: What can we learn about God’s ability and desire to give us good things according to Matthew 7:11?

PERSONAL INVENTORY: Do you have a heart of obedience?

PRACTICAL APPLICATION: Let’s choose to listen to God and make it our heart's desire to obey His commands.  Let’s seek to please Him in everything we do.

LET’S PRAY:  Father, thank You for Your love and mercy.  Thank You for teaching us Your ways.  Help us to remember the things we have learned Lord, and to implement them into our lives.  In Jesus’ precious name, amen...

 Be Blessed, Pastor Scott

 


Copyright ©2017 by Pastor Scott Wright.
Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Bible text from the New King James Version is not to be reproduced in copies or otherwise by any means except as permitted in writing by Thomas Nelson, Inc., Attn: Bible Rights and Permissions, P.O. Box 141000, Nashville, TN 37214-1000