He came bright-eyed and bushy tailed at the opening of our garage sale, a happy little lad about 5 years old accompanied by his father, hopeful to find some treasures to take home. I pointed him to Noah's Ark, a beautifully carved hand painted boat with dozens of individual animals to place on and in the boat.
I didn't really want to see this item sold. My mom purchased it years ago for our children but now they're grown, and it's been sitting unused. "How much do you want for it?" asked the little lad being coached by his father. I was conflicted. It seemed too valuable to set a price. "Would you enjoy having this?" I asked. "Oh yes!" he exclaimed. "Would you take good care of it and share with your sister?" "Yes" he emphasized with exuberant nodding. "Then it's yours...for you, it's free." "Really?" he exclaimed. "Thank you." And that was that...until I thought about it a bit more, later. Free wasn't accurate. I wish I'd said, "It's a gift" because in truth, it wasn't free. It was actually fairly expensive. I know how much mom paid for it.
So, the lad got a gift paid for by someone else. Sounds like a gift we've all been given, eh? "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus, Our Lord" (Romans 6:23, NIV). What a gift...but it wasn't free. Someone paid dearly.
My little friend didn't protest the gift. He happily and humbly received it, and that gave me such joy! I hope that he and his sister wear it out! How awesome it is to see gifts being enjoyed, and fully utilized...
What joy it must give God and Jesus when His gift of Salvation and intimate, loving, gracious relationship is joyfully accepted.
There's more. Several other morning gift-giving experiences prepared me to boldly challenge a person in need to accept the gift of a friend's gift of friendship, and my gift of counseling ministry. "I can't afford the fees" they protested over the phone. "But you are in a hole and really need help" I responded. "Yes." "Well, how are you going to get out of the hole unless you reach for and accept the hands that are reaching for you? In effect, we are extension of God's hands, and He wants to pull you out. If you don't accept our gifts, you interfere with the joy of giving, and besides, God has plans for you to help others. This is your time to receive, so that you too can give." "Ok, I get it. I'll be in to see you in a little bit." What transpired then was inspired by the Gift-giver Himself. I believe that salvation has come to yet another household.
The bottom line? Since it's more blessed to give than to receive, I pray you (and me) the grace to obey when prompted to give. And when it's time to receive; the grace to receive joyfully and to make good use of the gifts that have been given.
Enjoying the Journey,
Reflections about a Dying? Pastor
3 years ago