Can I lick the Spoon?
Wendy Pope

“So the last will be first, and the first will be last." Matthew 20:16 (NIV)

I find it easy to send clothes, money, food, and other necessities to those in need, but struggle with the serious sickness of a selfish spirit. The very idea of being last is not something I have wanted to embrace much less put to practice. After all don't I deserve some simple pleasures in life? I work hard at my job. I take good care of my family. They are always fed, and most the time the meal is fairly nutritious. Everyone sleeps in bed with sheets that are clean and wake up to clean clothes to wear each day. So why shouldn’t I have a few simple pleasures in life that I can call my own, like licking the chocolate syrup off the spoon. Let me explain.

With two children in the house I often have the opportunity to come last. A tradition in my life since I was young girl is making chocolate milk with Hershey'sÔ syrup. The highlight of the experience is licking the chocolate off the spoon when the milk is mixed. This is a pleasure that I had managed to keep to myself until about six months ago. My six-year-old observed me enjoying the delightfully sweet treat after mixing his milk one day. Since my secret pleasure has been revealed, I rarely get to enjoy the treat.

One particular day when I had been the hands and feet of Jesus to many people, served faithfully in every area of my responsibilities, I wanted a treat. No, I knew I deserved a treat! Then it happened—my son asked to lick the spoon. I wish I could say that with the love of Jesus, I handed him the spoon, but I stood there in a mental argument with the Lord reminding Him of all the great things I had done that day. In a silent pause, I was reminded that I was here to serve not to be served, so I handed the spoon to my son.

Laying down what you think you deserve is difficult. Putting others needs and wants in front of your own does not come naturally. It requires a minute-by-minute reliance on the Holy Spirit to enable you to live beyond yourself.

No matter what season of life you are currently in, someone will inevitably ask to lick the chocolate off your spoon, the very pleasure you believe you deserve. Let me encourage you to live beyond yourself in that moment and hand them the spoon. The blessing you give will come back to you ten-fold. Do you know how I can make that statement? I can because I have lived this truth. After I gave my son the spoon, I remembered that I could dip the spoon right in the can to get as much syrup as I wanted and I did.

Lord, I understand that by nature I have a selfish spirit. It is my desire to live outside of that nature and to live in Your nature, a nature of gentleness and kindness. Help me to do this today. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Do you know Him?

Listen to Today’s Radio Show

A Life That Says Welcome, Simple Ways to Open Your Heart & Home to Others by Karen Ehman

A Love Worth Giving: Living in the Overflow of God's Love by Max Lucado

Application Steps:
In your journal, draw a table with four columns. Head the first column with your name. Then write the names of those you have been selfish to within the last week. Title the second column: act of selfishness. Then write down the act of selfishness you showed to each person. Title column three: one act of kindness. Then write one act of kindness you can do for this person. Title the four column date. Record the date to show the act of kindness.

Reflection Points:
Do I enjoy giving?

Who am I most selfish toward and why?

Do I have any unforgiveness or bitterness in my heart that causes me to be more selfish to some individuals than others?

Power Verses:
Psalm 86:11, "Teach me your way, O LORD, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name." (NIV)

2 Corinthians 9:7, "Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver." (NIV)

Galatians 5:22, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness." (NIV)

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Blogger Kim said...

Wow, was this one an eye opener! I really needed this reminder. The thought that came to me after reading it is how focused we get on the little things we think we deserve (like licking the spoon) that we forget that God has so much more for us (like eating the syrup right out of the can). We can't see the abundance for struggling over the crumbs. I wonder if I have any Hershey's in the refrigerator..... :-)

Anonymous Anonymous said...

“So the last will be first, and the first will be last." Matthew 20:16 (NIV)

I just remember my mother and it brought tears into my eyes, when I was young I knew what it was like to have nothing to eat at all and I have two sisters and one brother. The food was divided and one tiny fish with rice could feed us all, but I remember my mother giving up her own if I ask for some more and that she told me when I do have my own child/children one day, I would know what it's like to give up the food that you are just about to put in your mouth.

I have three children now and I must admit that I do not always put them first. Sometimes I forget how much chocolate I can get from the chocolate factory I guess and allowing my children to lick the chocolate from the spoon will not make me have my chocolate treat. Our kids deserved better than just a lick of chocolate from a spoon. I sometimes forget that there is more chocolate from the chocolate factory and I have a hard time allowing my kids to enjoy the sweetest treats from the BIG CHOCOLATE factory. :)

I have more love to give than I thought I have, because I know I can get more love from the one who never runs out of the sweetest treat and He is the Maker of all the treats we deserved!

Thank you for sharing "Can I lick the Spoon?"

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for this devotion. I enjoy serving, but sometimes when it comes to my family I feel spent. I get to the end of my day and feel that I deserve to "lick the spoon", forgetting that I don't deserve anything!
The Lord deserve's everything I have to give. Thank you for this reminder that if we seek our comfort in the Lord then the can is never empty.


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