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I don’t know about you, but in my life I have a few significant memories that have impacted me more now that I’m older than they did when I had the experience in the first place. Here are a couple examples.

One time, when I was very young, my mom told me to go get ready for bed. I was going to but noticed the kitchen table looked a little dirty so I cleaned it. I then went to tell my mom that I’d cleaned the table for her. She wasn’t upset, but she took the time to teach me that obedience is better than sacrifice. She hadn’t asked me to clean the table, she had asked me to get ready for bed and I hadn’t. She reminded me what we’d read in the Bible before about Saul keeping aside what God told him to get rid of, telling Samuel it was to give God sacrifice (1 Samuel 15:18-22). God wants obedience more than sacrifice. It is more important to obey, since obedience is what truly shows where your heart is.

When I was quite young, my family was in Costa Rica visiting a pastor friend and his family. We all went to a very poor area there where the people lived in huts with dirt floors, and there was no electricity or plumbing. Though I didn’t know it at the time, they could barely afford to feed themselves sometimes, and they didn’t kill their chickens because they needed the eggs more than the meat. When we visited, because they love the pastor and his family, they fed us like they were kings feeding kings. They put so much food on the table, and even killed chickens for us. My dad had visited before on his own with the pastor and had already experienced this, so when I said I wasn’t hungry and didn’t want to eat, he shared some wisdom with me. He gently pulled me aside and told me just how poor these people were and how big of a deal it was for them to be feeding us, especially so much. He told me I should eat and be very grateful. I don’t remember whether or not I ate, but I do remember the lesson about gratefulness.

Small as they may seem for the moment, there are some things in life that don’t fully affect you until later.