A Bag of Cookies

She was quickly taken aback when the guy next to her opened the bag of cookies and helped himself. 

Acts 5:1-11

Reference: With his wife’s full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles’ feet. (Acts 5:2 NIV)

Explore: I once heard of a lady who went out shopping and decided to treat herself to some Mrs Field’s cookies. She specifically chose her coffee and a bag of mini cookies.

She sat down in the cafe to enjoy her treat and read the paper.

Once she sat down she realised that the gentleman beside her was actually a little bit on the nose and clearly hadn’t bought any new clothes in quite some time. But, as she didn’t want to offend, she stayed in her seat.

As she opened her bag of cookies she took one out and started to enjoy the wonderful flavours that filled her mouth. However, she was quickly taken aback when the guy next to her opened the bag of cookies and helped himself.

She couldn’t believe it! What a cheek!

She didn’t want to make a scene so she didn’t say anything, but kept reading her paper and eating her cookies. But every time she put her hand in to take out a cookie, this gentleman’s hand was not far behind.

It then came down to the very last cookie. Before the lady had a chance to grab it, the guy picked up the last one, broke it in half and shared it with her.

While he gave her a big smile she thought that he had some gaul to share her own cookie with her! With this final cookie eaten he stood up and walked away.

The lady was so shocked at what had taken place she hardly moved, but started thinking about how she would tell her friends about this flabbergasting situation.

With her relaxation time over she got up to leave, but as she grabbed her bag she heard a rustle. Her bag of cookies were still in there, she had never brought them out!

Application: This story shows us two types of givers – one who gives generously without question and another who gives under sufferance.

To the lady’s credit, she still gave of what she thought were her cookies, however, how much more gracious was the man who gave without even being asked.

When I heard this story my heart grew big thinking of the generosity of this gentleman, but I was instantly confronted with the quality of my own heart. So often I give to get credit, to be noticed, or to gain favour with someone else.

God’s love of generosity is not dependent on what we give, or even how much, but on the nature in which we give.

When Ananias and Sapphira gave a potion of the sale of their land, in Acts 5, this could have been viewed as a generous act. However, they were deceiving the early church leaders into believing that they were more generous than they really were and this cost them dearly.

God is not interested in the value of the gift, but the value we place on the offering. We all have opportunities to be generous, whether it’s a large gift or just a bag of cookies, but we will be judged on the attitude in which we give, not the amount we actually give.

Prayer: Lord, it is so nice to receive glowing recognition for what we give. May we not hold firmly to what You have given to us, but see every day as an opportunity to bless others. Amen.

Which character in the story do you relate to best?

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This article was written by Linda Bailey

Linda started theological studies in 1999 in Australia. After working for ten years in various church ministries, she now works as the breakfast producer at 89.9 LightFM - the Christian radio station in Melbourne, Australia. She writes blogs every day about passages she is currently reading in the Bible. Follow her on Google Plus +Linda Bailey or Facebook by clicking the like button on the right of this page.