Josh McDowell's Youth Devotions

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Day 362 of 366 • This day’s reading

Devotional
DEWEY THE DOG.

Dewey the Dog trotted away from the butcher shop, humming a little tune in his gruff little dog voice. His teeth gripped a meaty bone, snatched from the floor of the butcher shop.

He trotted down the lanes and streets of the town, snarling occasionally at any animal that eyed his prized bone too long or too hungrily. Finally, he reached the low footbridge that marked the halfway point home. He paused for a moment, artfully shifted the bone's position in his mouth, and peered into the slow-running stream below the bridge.

What he saw shocked him.

There, in the water, was an image of a dog. And that dog, like Dewey, held a bone in his teeth. Dewey's lip curled at the sight; his eyes narrowed. The dog in the stream didn't look tough at all-and the bone in his mouth looked even bigger than Dewey's bone.

Finally, after a few moments of growling and baring his teeth at the dog in the stream, which had returned every growl and every snarl, Dewey made his move. He opened his mouth and snapped at the other dog, attempting to grab his bone. But his attack touched only water, for the other dog was his reflection. And his own bone, which he had carried all the way from the butcher shop in town, slowly sank to the bottom of the stream.

That story, a retelling of one of Aesop's fables, illustrates what greed usually gains: nothing. If Dewey had been content with his prize, instead of greedily fighting for more, he could have gone home and enjoyed a long gnaw on a nice bone. Instead, he lost his own bone because he dropped it in his attempt to get more, and he lost the "other" dog's bone because it was only a reflection in the first place.

Greed gains nothing because the greedy person is never satisfied. But the generous person gains back far more than he gives away, because generosity blesses the giver more than the one receiving the gift. Seems odd, doesn't it? But it's true-it is more blessed to give than to receive.

REFLECT: Today's Bible verse says, "Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income" (Ecclesiastes 5:10, NIV). Do you think that's true? How much money do you think you would need before it would be "enough"? Do you tend to be more generous or greedy with money? with your possessions? with your time? with compliments? In what areas will you try to practice generosity today?

PRAY: "God, help me to remember that it's better to give than to receive and to show I believe it by the way I handle my money, possessions, time, and compliments."