It is said that the best things in life are free. It is true that money can buy many things and money certainly gives you options, but there are many things that money cannot buy you. We live in a very materialistic society in which happiness is found in things. There was a popular song some years ago that emphasized this: 'Losing everything, is like the sun going down on me.' When we are going through a difficult season in which money would solve everything, it seems hard to comprehend that the best things in life could be free. But when we face sickness, and no amount of money can solve it, then we begin to see things in perspective. During lockdown I set up a birdbath and a bird feeder in our garden outside my window. I made the birdbath from an old concrete plant pot and an overflow tray from a discarded water storage tank. I took the lid of an old dustbin and nailed it on top of an offcut piece of wood and planted it in the ground. I started giving the birds seed and water. Within no time there was a host of birds eating and splashing in the water. I found delight in this and spent time watching and photographing the birds. It was a delight that cost nothing, and all the birds came with for free. In our materialistic world we can sometimes miss the delights of a beautiful sunset or a glorious sunrise. We can miss the joy of the fresh air after a rain shower and we can take our health for granted. But if we stop for long enough and evaluate things, we will discover that some of the most wonderful things in life cannot be bought. The Lord, in His great kindness towards us, has made many wonderful things freely available to us. If we could just realize this, it would help us to be more appreciative, even if we are facing challenges on other fronts. Let us look at some of the things that God makes available to us as a gift.
A. THE GIFT(S) GOD HAS FOR YOU...
John 4:10 Jesus replied, 'If you only knew the gift God has for you...!'
In this story Jesus meets a certain lady at a well. She has come to the well to fetch and collect water. It is in this routine part of her life that she discovers the Lord. It is almost as if she stumbles upon Him as she goes about her daily duties. I believe that we can have a similar experience, where we can discover God in the routine of life, if we will just be open and aware that He could come to us at any time and in any multitude of ways. We could 'chance upon Him' in so many ways, in the course of life. Just look at what the Lord said to this lady: 'If you only knew the gift God has for you...!' I say to you: 'If you only knew the gift God has for you...!' Perhaps you are fighting and contended, in order to hold onto things, you think you deserve or have earned, or even have a right to, when God has so much more to give you! If only you and I could realize what God has for us, perhaps we would stop struggling and striving and stretch out our hands to receive all He wants to give us.
B. WHAT IS A GIFT?
A gift is a unique item. A gift is something we did not earn or pay for ourselves.
- The dictionary says that a gift is something given willingly to someone else without payment. A true gift does not have strings attached. Human beings love to give gifts with strings attached to them, that is to say that something is expected or required in return. A true gift is given willingly and without any form of payment or return favour. The thing about a gift is that it must be recognized by the recipient as a gift and received as such. Years ago, an old lady in our church passed away and left her estate to the church. I was responsible to clear her flat. She had never married. In the process of clearing her flat, I discovered that she had been engaged. I am not sure what happened, but she never married. Tucked away in the top of her cupboard we found wrapped engagement gifts that had never been opened. I was sad to reach in and remove these gifts that had been kept for almost 60 years. Perhaps she felt that she did not deserve them, or did not qualify to receive them when the relationship ended? As I opened them, I discovered the moth-eaten contents and realized that she had never accepted these gifts and now I was left to dispose of them. Gifts are meant to be received and appropriated. The word 'appropriated' means to take exclusive possession of. With the gifts God has for us, we need to take them and make them ours. As you read through the list of gifts God has for you below, do not just read over them, but stop, receive the gift, and accept them into your life as coming from the very hand of God.
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