Lessons from Dave Letterman and an Ice Cream Bar

from Dave Letterman and an Ice Cream Bar

Ellen White reminds us that “God's faithful people have always been aggressive missionaries, consecrating their resources to the honor of His name and wisely using their talents in His service” (Acts of the Apostles, p. 109).

By her definition, members of the Christian band Sixpence None the Richer might be considered aggressive missionaries. A few years ago they performed on The Late Show with David Letterman. Leigh Nash, Sixpence lead singer, then took the coveted seat next to Dave’s desk. Letterman asked for an explanation of the band’s name.

Nash shared the story by C.S. Lewis of a father giving his son a sixpence to buy him a present: “When the father received the present, he was none the richer because he originally gave the sixpence to his son. The analogy is to God who gives gifts for us to glorify Him. He is not richer because of our presentation since He originally gave the gift.”

Letterman replied, “That's a beautiful story. If people could stop being so stupid and actually hear that and live by that sort of thing, then our world would be a better place. God bless you, thank you for playing, and thank you for being here”*

Dave’s right. If we could stop being so stupid and hear that message, we really would improve our world.

Think about it. Your ability to wakeboard, to solve a chemistry problem, to babysit, to make people laugh, to write, to sing, to cook—everything you can do is only because God has wired you that way. Your talents come from God, and everything you do is an offering to Him. Your contribution doesn’t make God wealthier, for He gave you the talent in the first place.

I was reminded of this recently when my 10-year-old daughter, Lindsey, sauntered into my office flaunting an ice cream bar.

“Can I have a bite?” I asked.

“Well, okay,” she consented. “But make sure it’s a little bite.”

Seeing an opportunity to theologically enlighten my kid (and at the same time satisfy my creamy cravings), I cut that treat in half with one bite.

“Heeeeey!” Lindsey protested. “I said you could only have a small bite.”

“Hold on, Lindsey. Let’s think about this,” I said, revving up for a sermon. “Where did you get this ice cream bar?”

“From the freezer,” she answered.

“And who bought it in the first place?”

“I dunno,” she lied.

“Did you buy it?”

“Well, no.”

“So really the ice cream bar is mine to begin with, right?”

“Whaaaaaaatever,” she scowled like a seasoned teenager.

“But really,” I preached on, in spite of my congregation’s waning interest, “the ice cream doesn’t belong to me either. Everything we enjoy is on loan from God. Our car, our house, our talents, even our ice cream is a gift that belongs to God.”

“Okay, Dad. If you say so,” she replied as she polished off the final corner of her dessert. “Does that mean that I can have another ice cream since you ate half of this one?”

“Are you going to share with your daddy?”

“But of course!”

“Forget it. Your gift won’t make your father any wealthier—since I own the ice cream to begin with. But it will make him fatter.”

And I don’t need the nickname “Six Pounds None the Heavier.”

*“The Industry of Christian Music,” Trinity Magazine, Summer 2001, as cited at www.PreachingToday.com.

May 01, 2006 / Fresh Start