Saturday, December 22, 2007

Sunday Devotions: Gift Giving

Podcast version here

This week, I had lunch with two young men who both want to serve the Lord. One of them is a pastor who is in-between churches at the moment. The other is a person who survived a horrific accident three years ago. They both are gifted people and their common desire is to do something that will make a difference in the lives of others. In other words, they want their own lives to have a special meaning and divine purpose.

As I listened to them, I was touched by their eagerness to serve God. It reminded me of my own journey of faith that started over thirty years ago. I had just managed to overcome alcoholism and was beginning to experience my zeal for the Lord and His work. I wanted to change the world because I was so thankful that the Lord had changed me. I wanted to bring everyone into the Kingdom because I desired that everybody should experience the joy of serving God. It was a beautiful time in my Christian life and I’ve tried to keep that flame of faith burning within me. I see it as a gift from God.

Deuteronomy 16:17 Each of you must bring a gift in proportion to the way the LORD your God has blessed you.

1 Peter 4:10 Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms.

When I read these two verses of scripture from Deuteronomy and 1 Peter this morning, I was struck by how different they are. In the Old Testament, the emphasis is placed upon bringing gifts to the altar for God; in the New Testament, gifts are to be taken out into the world in order to share His grace with others. It may be too simplistic for some people, but for me this confirms Christ’s work of salvation. He made the ultimate sacrifice, so there is nothing that we can bring to God that will be worthy of His Son. However, we can use our gifts as a means of sharing the Gospel to the world, so that others may receive the blessings and riches of Christ’s grace.

I know that God has a plan for each of the two young men that I shared lunch with yesterday. He has given them different gifts and experiences that He will shape into future ministries and missions. The gifts have already been given; the blessings are ready to be shared. I am both excited and in awe of what God is doing in their lives. I look forward to the sharing of Christ’s grace that is yet to come.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for being the greatest Gift of God and to the world. Without Your Presence in our lives, we would wander aimlessly through life and end up making no difference. By Your sacrifice, You have given each of us a holy opportunity to share Your grace and to encourage others to come into Your Kingdom. Bless us today with situations and circumstances that we can use to glorify Your Name and to spread Your gifts of faith, hope, and love. Amen.

Stsuhie is the writer of the presbyterian daily devotional "Heaven's Highway."

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