2017....

My Dear Friends in Christ!

What would be the perfect gift? Is there really such a thing? Maybe the best gift we can give to someone is not one you can wrap up and tie with a bow. Joni E. Tada, in Diamonds in the Dust, shares a story about a six-year old little girl. Her daddy serves as a pastor. Daddy was busy studying at the dining-room table for a sermon the next morning on the First Letter of Peter. He looked up to see Bethany watching him with a smile. “What are you doing, Daddy”, she asked. “I’m studying for tomorrow’s sermon”, he replied. “Well, when you get done, I’ll give you a big hug”, she exclaimed.

With that, Bethany wrapped her arms around her father and squeezed the biggest hug she could muster. “Why did you do that?” the dad asked. “I’m not finished yet.” “I know,” said Bethany, “I just wanted you to know what it would feel like when you do get done.”

What a wonderful picture this little girl provided for her father’s sermon the next day. “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others.” The pastor was employing his gift when he sat down to study and stood up to preach. But do you see the employment of yet another gift? Bethany put her arms to work and exhorted her father with comfort and the promise of reward. Now that is what I call teamwork.

We know that our time here on this side of heaven is short. Our chances to put our gifts to work are fleeing fast. The question that we need to ponder is not how to find your gift. It is where and when you use it. Only in that way will we be “faithfully administering God’s grace.”

And what is God’s gift to us that is the source of all we bestow upon others? Well, let’s see.

•I asked God to take away my pride. And God said“No.” He said it was not for him to take away, but for me to give up.
• I asked God to make my handicapped child whole. And God said “No.” He said her spirit is whole, her body is only temporary.
• I asked God to grant me patience. And God said“No.” He said patience is a by-product of tribulations. It isn’t granted, it is earned.
•I asked God to give me happiness. And God said“No.” He said he gives me blessings, happiness is up to me.
• I asked God to spare me pain. And God said, “No.” He said suffering draws you apart from worldly cares and brings you closer to Me.
• I asked God to make my spirit grow. And God said“No.” He said I must grow on my own. But he would prune me to make me fruitful.
• I asked God for all things that I might enjoy life. And God said “No.” He said I will give you life, that you may enjoy all things.
• I asked God to help me Love others, as much as he loves me. And God said, Ah, finally you have the idea.

Lord, I know my gifts. Let me use them for your glory. Place me into the paths of oncoming problems or new opportunities that I might exhibit the generous grace of God.

May the Gift of Christ’s love always be with you,
Cn. Richard+