Portion

Portion

“Where are you going with that huge bowl of ice cream?”

I was a new server at our local country club, my first job working for someone besides my father. I stood there with what I thought was a proper portion of this familiar treat. After all, I knew how much it was going to cost the customer, and I wanted him to get his money’s worth. My supervisor, however, stopped me before I could leave the kitchen.

“Give it to me! You can’t serve that!” She scooped out over half of what I had put in the dish. “Here! Take this! That’s plenty.” I looked down at the pitiful portion and meekly left to deliver the dessert.

Restaurants are often known by their portions. Some pile the food on, while others scatter small bites around the plate connected with drizzles of sauces and charge a fortune. We don’t always leave feeling we’ve received value for our money.

This kind of portion is what we are all familiar with: an amount, share, quantity, measure. This can be applied to food, an inheritance, time, or just about anything we can quantify.

We read in the Scriptures about generous portions given to others. Benjamin received from Joseph five times the amount of food as his brothers (Genesis 43:34). Hannah’s husband gave her twice what he gave his other wife (1 Samuel 1:5). And even though it wasn’t Elijah’s to give, Elisha asked and received a double portion of his spirit (2 Kings 2:9).

But what does God expect from us for His portion, His measurement of generosity?

Certainly it’s not our leftovers … our extra money, time, energy. His message is clear: “You must present as the Lord’s portion the best and holiest part of everything given to you” (Numbers 18:29). Oh that can be so very difficult when our own portions aren’t very big and we’re struggling to even breathe. It’s in those times I try to think and act like Abel, who offered his best (Genesis 4:4).

What does God expect from us for His portion, His measurement of generosity?

There’s another “portion” that isn’t often used: one’s lot, future, fortune, destiny. It’s our portion in life. The old English meaning for “lot” includes choice and decision, which makes sense when we try to blame God for things that were really not His doing … that were caused by our own choices. We read how He chastised the Israelites for their poor choices: “This is your lot, the portion I have decreed for you… because you have forgotten me and trusted in false gods” (Jeremiah 13:25). They chose their own future apart from God.

But that’s not what I’m destined for. I know that because my Lord Jesus determined my portion when He claimed me as His child. This reminder is the heart those wonderful hymn lyrics written by Civilla D. Martin:

“Why should I feel discouraged, why should the shadows come,

Why should my heart be lonely, and long for heaven and home,

When Jesus is my portion? My constant friend is He:

His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.”

These words echo those of the psalmist who claims the Lord alone as his portion, the one who secures his future, strengthens his heart, and provides refuge (Psalm 16:5; 73:26; 119:57; 142:5).

Over and over the psalmist proclaims God IS his portion. If I truly believe this, then everything I do should point to my Lord Jesus. He is my reason to live, He is my portion, my everything.

At the same time, I am overwhelmed by the generosity of my Lord’s portions. He pours out His blessings, not just material gifts but more importantly spiritual blessings of forgiveness, faith, life, love, and joy.

Instead of receiving what we deserve, He promises to pay us double for what we’ve done … not double punishment but a double portion of forgiveness (Isaiah 40:2). And if we are to forgive as He has forgiven us, we should follow His example in being generous with others, sometimes even when their actions don’t merit it.

But what exactly is our return? To God? To our friends and family, our coworkers and employees? It’s that generous portion, not just of things and money, but more importantly those intangibles that are priceless: forgiveness, love, hope, joy. The Lord promises that when we are more than generous with others and with Him, our measure, our portion, will overflow into our spiritual laps. How generous we as leaders are with others who look to us will determine how generous our own blessings will be. “For with the measure (the portion) you use, it will be measured to you” (Luke 6:38).

As wonderful as it is to be blessed by my Lord Jesus, there is the additional reminder of my connection to Him. There is more beyond blessings, beyond the portions I give or receive. My destiny, my portion, my future not only belongs to God, it IS God.

My goal in my relationship with my Lord Jesus is for Him to be my portion, not just a part of my life, but my life itself.  This is something that I hope I will keep growing in understanding.

It’s more than a choice or decision. Indeed, it’s something deep within that can’t be separated. It’s the oneness in Christ that we all strive for.

And when I feel that oneness, I realize that not only does Jesus give me joy, He tells me to proclaim to the world that He IS my joy!

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Christine Vogelsang

Christine Vogelsang is a teacher, musician, pastor’s wife, and mother of three adult children. For almost forty years her family enjoyed the love of congregations in Tennessee, Arkansas, and Southern California. She has earned her master’s degree in education, taught at various schools (from kindergarten to college) and served as music director for twenty-five years at their last church.

While writing and speaking about the joy of being God’s child has always been a part of her life, it wasn’t until her weekly inspirational blogs (restoringthejoy.net) gained an international following that Christine decided to publish her first book. She has also written and produced three plays about people and events in the Gospels that bring these ancient stories to life.

Christine and her husband have retired from full time church work; however, her blog ministry continues to grow. She recently completed her Restoring the Joy: Leaving My Guilt at the Cross book series (available through Amazon) and is scheduling more speaking engagements that highlight her spiritual passion: joy without guilt!