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Better Gifts for God

“Offer your whole souls as an offering unto him…” –Omni 1:26

Last Sunday we held a surprise graduation party for Andy. Afterward, our three-year old realized that she had not given her dad a gift. She was upset and tearful. Desperately, she searched the room for something to give.

Andy insisted that her congratulations and hugs had been ideal. I suggested a homemade card. She threw off our remarks and persisted to hunt for a gift.

Pleased with her goodness and willing to help, Andy asked, “Well, what kind of a gift are you wanting to give?”

By this point Lucy had taken inventory of her material goods and deemed them worthy–

“Something that I don’t like,” she said.

We laughed at her miserly gift-giving attempt. But as happens in parenting, the Spirit quickly suggested a parallel:

My Heavenly Father insists that all He wants from me is the simple heart-felt stuff. You know: gratitude, obedience, abundant prayer, an easiness to believe… my whole mind…my whole heart. But sometimes I falter at the weight of the sacrifice, and settle on a second-rate offering.

Sometimes I give him “something that I don’t like” instead—the sleepy tail end of my day for scriptures, obligatory but insincere offers to help, casual “thought prayers” (ie: in bed, supine, half-way asleep), snarky wife rather than empathetic wife, crabby too-tired mom because I disregarded my bedtime goals.

I can give better gifts.

I WILL give better gifts.

I will choose to study scriptures before I check social media. I will actually help others, rather than lame self-soothing attempts. I will pray worshipfully—emphasis on fully, which for me means either aloud and kneeling, or whispered at an open window. I will practice empathy in marriage rather than indulgent meanness. I will go to bed on time because it makes me a kinder human the next day.

These are my my gifts to God this week. Will I fail? No doubt. But this life is nothing if not time and space to repent (Alma 42:4).

What of you, my friend?

What will you give?

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Jenny Harris
Jenny is a star-gazing, book-clubbing mother of two. She has a Master’s degree in Human Development and Family Studies, which is mildly comical (but also a boon in parenting and relationships). Her kids will attest that she’s crazy about reading aloud, time out of doors, and creative play. Her family’s goal is the “abundant life,” as prescribed by Jesus. You can read more posts by Jenny here.

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