God asks of us only what we can give

By Judy Brandon

God does not expect us to give to him what we do not have. But he does expect us to give to him what we do have.

These thoughts came to me last week from an unlikely source. I had purchased Christmas songs for the grandchildren while I was in Lubbock several weeks ago. On the way home, I decided to listen for myself because I love those children’s voices.

I hummed my way through Shallowater to the likes of “Away in a Manger” and “Angels We Have Heard on High.” I sang along to “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” and others on the road toward Littlefield. I whistled right through Sudan and five miles out to “Jingle Bells” and “Up on the Rooftop.” I tapped by hands in rhythm on the steering wheel to “The Little Drummer Boy” and other melodies all the way into Muleshoe.

Right outside Muleshoe, one song came on that I had not heard in a long time. And with this song I had a theological awakening of some sorts. Once again this came to me: God does not expect us to give what we do not have. But he does want us to give to Him what we do have.
How did a children’ song remind me again of this? The name of the song was “The Friendly Beasts” by Robert Davis. The setting is the manger scene in the inn with the baby Jesus and the animals. The animals are carrying on a conversation among themselves. Then they tell of his birth in a stable stall with all of them standing around, observing the most wonderful event. But what could they give him? It seems that a bunch of barnyard animals did not have anything to give.

That is when the donkey, who was described as shaggy and brown, spoke up. He said “I carried him up and down… I carried his mother Mary into Bethlehem town.” Then the white and red cow entered in. “I gave him my manger for his bed and I gave him my hay to pillow his head.” Next the sheep told of his gift: “I gave him my wool for his blanket warm and he wore my coat on Christmas morn.” Then the camel had a gift to offer. “I carried the Wise Men through the desert on my back and they brought him a gift in their pack.” So every animal in the stable had a part and every animal was thankful that they had the opportunity to offer something to the Christ child — something only they could give and something unique to them.

The “Friendly Beasts” song reminded me again that God only expects us to give what we have — give of ourselves and our unique abilities. The sheep wasn’t expected to carry the Christ child because he couldn’t. The camel couldn’t offer wool for warmth because he did not have a coat of wool.

It is so simple and yet so profound. God only wants us to give of ourselves and in doing that, he is pleased. My spirit was lifted that day. It is in simplicity that the Christ child was born and it is only when we accept God’s gift in all its simplicity — no ceremonies, no legalism, no stringent rules, no judgments, no proving oneself — that we really become his children. I know, because it happened to me.

Judy Brandon is a Clovis resident. Contact her at: