I imagine winning the bake-off gave her lots of confidence. That prize in her hands, the judges' decision, and a host of spectators were witnesses to it. She won!
I wonder. If I had someone declare I had won a writing contest, would I be more willing to put myself out there. If I won Mother-of-the-Year (hahahaha!), would I be a more confident mother?
What if I won the Trophy of Selflessness, could I then love with no strings attached, give without running dry, listen without judging, care without worrying about myself? Could my love be boundless? What if I even had judges and spectators witness the receiving of such a prize? What if I had a glass cake-stand in my kitchen to remind me each time I settled an argument or swept up broken glass or washed cuts in the sink?
That's basically what Jesus had. God declared that he was well-pleased with Christ. Jesus was intimately connected to the father's love and so was able to do the most selfless acts in life and death. He wins the Selfless Trophy. I was reading about just such a time in Luke 9:10 where Jesus withdrew to a private place to be with his disciples. The crowds followed asking for things and Jesus welcomed them, preaching and healing.
"Most people would have resented the invasion of their hard-won privacy. How would we feel if we had sought out some lonely place to be with our most intimate friends and suddenly a clamorous mob of people turned up with their insistent demands?" (Barclay, 117) But Jesus hadn't put boundaries on his love.
I'm not like Jesus. Instead of boundless love, I decide, "Well, I 'll give this much but I won't give that." Or "I'll do such and such just as long as afterwards I can have this and that." I don't think Jesus measured and portioned, withheld and guarded his love like we do. And I think that because he didn't withhold, he was filled up: "a good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over . . . For with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you." (Luke 6:38b, d ESV)
So the more we give, the more we get. It's the natural effect of generous living. However, we don't usually operate like that. We give for the sake of getting, which is why we grow tired of doing good quite quickly. Instead we must operate from the fullness given to us by God, that award-winning acceptance, that declaration made publicly, "For God so loved . . ." When we draw from that source, we don't have to say maybe. We don't have to say we can't. We don't have to doubt it. With Christ, we can and we will!"
"If you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday. And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail." (Isaiah 58:10-11 ESV)
Barclay, William. The Daily Study Bible: The Gospel of Luke. Westminster Press: Philadelphia, 1975.