I’m from the South and there are certain things that we say and do that are, well… uniquely southern. For instance, recently someone asked me to a meal at her house. I accepted and then immediately asked, “What can I bring?” I always ask this, and almost always, the answer is “Just bring yourself.” This time was no exception. It’s a polite, habitual exchange, at least around these parts. It’s just what we do.
One of the first songs that Dennis had published in the 1970s was a new tune to this anonymous text. It was a children’s song, but the beginning of his songwriting passion.
The wise may bring their learning,
The rich may bring their wealth,
And some may bring their greatness,
And some bring strength and health;
We too, would bring our treasures
To offer to the King;
We have no wealth or learning –
What shall we children bring?
I’m sure I’ve told this story before, but I (of course) want to hear it again.
We got paid in lobsters once.
Yeah, a church in Nova Scotia asked for an accompaniment track to one of the songs we had written. Dennis created it and didn’t charge the volunteer music leader a penny. The church was in a small fishing village and had very little money or resources.
A couple of weeks later, a large package arrived at our door – a special delivery box from Canada that said “Live Lobsters” stamped on the outside. We opened up the package that had been shipped in dry ice and found thirteen live, but a little weary, lobsters straight from the sea. What a gift! For the receiver (us), it was quite beautiful and delicious. But for the giver (them), it was a true sacrifice…what they had to give.
Gospel writers, Mark and Luke, recorded an event that happened in the temple in Jerusalem. Jesus was sitting there and watching people as they put in their money in the offering plate. The wealthy, of course, gave a lot, but not nearly so much that would cause them to go hungry or do without…anything. But a widow, who had only one coin, put it in the till. Only He knew that this was all the woman had to live on. Jesus was really impressed with her willingness to give everything she had to God and used this as an example to His disciples.
Then, Paul writes about the attitude of giving, not just the amount. “Each one must do just as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Cor. 9:7)
Next time you get an invitation to a meal and ask, “What can I bring?” be willing to bring anything and everything, even if you suspect that the host will say “Just bring yourself.”
In fact, perhaps that may be the best gift of all.