“Can I take something?”

Yet I am always with you;
    you hold me by my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel,
    and afterward you will take me into glory.
Whom have I in heaven but you?
    And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
    but God is the strength of my heart
    and my portion forever.

Psalm 73:23-26

I walked up to the bus stop, as I do most days, to pick up my two youngest children. I usually wait for five to ten minutes before seeing the elementary school bus pull up and drop off a bunch of kids. My middle son (9) and my daughter (6) got off the bus and ran over to me. I greeted them with a smile and a hug and asked them how their day was.

As they started to tell me all about their day I reminded them, as I usually do, that they can take off their masks. Usually, I ask them right away if I can help carry something in order to lighten their load. But this day I waited until there was an opening in the conversation.

Eventually, I turned to my six-year-old daughter. She had a mask in her left hand, her lunch in her right hand, a fleece on her back and a heavy backpack on her shoulders. I reached my left hand down and said, “Can I take something?”

Then my daughter did something that absolutely rocked my world for the rest of the walk home. She saw me reach my hand down. She put her lunch in her left hand with her mask, reached out with her right hand, and put her hand in mine.

I wasn’t ready for that.

When I reached down and asked if I could take something, I was thinking about her mask, or her lunch box, or her backpack. What I wasn’t ready for was her hand. Essentially, I asked, “Can I take something?” and she answered, without a word, “My hand.”

My little girl would rather walk home with her heavy backpack on her shoulders and her left hand stuffed with a mask and a lunch box if it meant she could hold my hand along the way.

A thousand thoughts ran through my mind. A hundred sermons were instantly written in my head. God spoke. This was a holy moment that had snuck up on me. My eyes started to well up with tears, and I had to fight them back just so she wouldn’t think something was wrong.

So profound.

So often I try to help people by lightening their load. But so often, what they really need is a hand to hold.

So often I ask God to help me by lightening my load. But so often, what He knows I really need is His hand to hold. By holding my hand God tells me, “I know you are strong enough to carry what you are carrying. I just want you to know that I am with you, I love you, and I’ll hold your hand through this.”

When God asks me, “Can I take something?” sometimes He’s asking if He can lighten my load. Sometimes He’s asking if I need to unload a heavy burden off of my back and give it to Him. But other times, He’s simply asking to take my hand. “Can I take something…your hand, perhaps? Your heart?

The Psalmist wrote, “you hold me by my right hand.” I think this is what he meant. God’s hand is what we need more than anything else, more than a lighter load, more than solutions to our problems. He is our portion. He is the strength of our heart forever.

My Portion

But to the tribe of Levi he gave no inheritance, since the food offerings presented to the Lord, the God of Israel, are their inheritance, as he promised them…

This is the inheritance Moses had given when he was in the plains of Moab across the Jordan east of Jericho. But to the tribe of Levi, Moses had given no inheritance; the Lord, the God of Israel, is their inheritance, as he promised them.

Joshua 13:14 & 32-33

On the one hand, the Levites and priests were provided for by the offerings of the rest of the people of Israel. They were to eat certain portions of certain animal and grain offerings. They wouldn’t have land to raise animals or to farm produce so they would be completely dependent on the offerings of the people.

Yet, in another sense, their inheritance wasn’t just the offerings of the people but the Lord Himself. So their dependency wasn’t primarily on the people but on God Himself to provide. This is how the Lord said it to Aaron when He first set up the priestly system this way:

Then the Lord said to Aaron, “I myself have put you in charge of the offerings presented to me; all the holy offerings the Israelites give me I give to you and your sons as your portion, your perpetual share. You are to have the part of the most holy offerings that is kept from the fire. From all the gifts they bring me as most holy offerings, whether grain or sin or guilt offerings, that part belongs to you and your sons.

Numbers 18:8-9

What God was saying is not only would the priests and Levites have a portion of the sacrifices, but that God himself was their portion. God would take what was given to Him and give it to them. This is what the Psalmists meant when they declared that God is their portion.

Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup;
    you make my lot secure.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
    surely I have a delightful inheritance.

Psalm 16:5-6

Whom have I in heaven but you?
    And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
    but God is the strength of my heart
    and my portion forever.

Psalm 73:25-26

I cry to you, Lord;
    I say, “You are my refuge,
  my portion in the land of the living.”

Psalm 142:5

These Psalmists weren’t necessarily priests talking about God’s provision. They were lovers of God crying out to Him about wanting Him above all other things. Beyond what God could give them, these worshipers wanted God Himself. They were more interested in intimacy with the Lord than His provision. Nearness to Him was their primary inheritance.

As followers of Jesus, how much more is this true for us. 1 Peter 2:9 says that followers of Jesus are “a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession.” Beyond God’s provision for us–which He does have for us–we are invited to see intimacy with God as our inheritance. He is our portion. The greatest gift we’ve been given is the gift of Himself, God with us, Immanuel, Christ in you the hope of glory, the Holy Spirit.

Let us not be so focused on God’s provision and the tangible inheritance He has for us in His Kingdom that we miss the truth that He is our portion. Nearness and intimacy with Him is the greatest gift we’ve been given.

Father, we cry out the words of Moses, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here“(Exodus 33:15). We stand in agreement with the Psalmists and declare, “you alone are my portion!