THE BEST THINGS IN LIFE
- 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.
1. THE GIFT OF LIFE
- John 10:10b-11 'I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.'
- Life is so much more than just breathing in and out, or just existing.
- The gift of life that God has for us is a life that is full and abundant.
- I remember when I was a child, I would go down to the beach with my Mom and her father, my grandfather. He loved to sit on the beach and eat peanuts. As a child I would say to him: 'Grandpa are you enjoying yourself?' and he would respond: 'This is Life with a capital L!'
- Life with a capital 'L' is what God wants to give you.
- In fact He laid down His own life to make this possible.
- So receive the Gift of Life that He has for you today.
2. ETERNAL LIFE
- Romans 6:23 'The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.'
- We have to constantly remind ourselves that we are eternal spiritual beings having a temporary earthly experience.
- It is during this temporary earthly experience that we can receive this free gift of eternal life as we place our faith in Jesus Christ.
- Death is part of the earthly experience, but eternal life is part the eternal spiritual beings that we are.
- John 5:24 'Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears My word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.'
- So ask Him to wash away every sin from your heart and life and receive Him and His gift of Eternal Life.
3. THE LIGHT OF LIFE
- John 8:12 When Jesus spoke again to the people, He said, 'I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.'
- 'Light' and 'Life' can be seen in contrast to 'darkness' and 'death'.
- There is something so beautiful about this scripture as the Lord speaks about something incredibly special: the 'light of life'.
- What a joy to know that we can know the Light of the World.
- What a joy to know that we never have to walk in darkness again.
- What a privilege that we can have the 'Light of Life' in our daily lives.
- When we follow Christ, we can actually hold His light within ourselves.
- Light gives direction. Light gives us perspective.
- In our home we have a long dark passage. At night when I get up and move down the passage, I can get disorientated. But in the one corner is a motion sensor for our burglar alarm. As I move down the passage, it detects my movement and lights up. In that moment I can see where I am and I know where I am going.
- So receive His gift of 'The Light of Life' and may it bring hope and direction to your heart and life.
- Ephesians 2:8-9 'For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast.'
- Faith is our ability to trust and hold onto God no matter what life may bring across our path.
- Faith is our confident expectation in God.
- The Lord gives us the gift of faith to believe that He will save us and that we can know His saving power in our personal lives.
- Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for (divinely guaranteed), and the evidence of things not seen [the conviction of their reality - faith comprehends as fact what cannot be experienced by the physical senses].
- Have you ever met someone who is filled with joy - a joyful person. I find them contagious.
- If the best things in life are free, then joy must be one of the greatest.
- John 15:11 'I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!'
- You can't buy joy, but you can receive joy from the Lord and the Joy of the Lord is our strength.
- I believe that joy is both a gift from God and a choice we make.
- Just the other day I was complaining to my daughter about all the things that we were grappling with. She reminded me that things were not as bad as I was making out and we both agreed and had a good laugh and carried on with life.
- So receive His joy into your life and may you overflow with joy.
- Another aspect that is a great treasure that cannot be purchased but makes such a difference in life is peace.
- I am reminded of an old hymn. It was written by a man who had just lost everything and he sat down and wrote this great hymn: 'It is well with my soul!'
- Here are the words of the first verse:
When peace like a river attendeth my way When sorrows like sea billows roll Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say It is well, it is well with my soul!
- This is something that only God can give us.
- John 14:27 'I am leaving you with a gift - peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don't be troubled or afraid.'
- So receive His peace - it's His gift to you.
7. LIVING WATER
- There is something so amazing about fresh water.
- I have had the privilege of going to the mountains for a holiday. The resort was on the banks of a river that found its source in the same mountains. The water is clean and fresh and almost living. You can drink it straight out of the river. I love to watch this sparkling water tumble over the rocks and make its way down the river course. I have also spent time next to a dam, where stagnant, green, and lifeless water stands. This is a picture of what God wants to give us in our lives - living water.
- John 4:10 Jesus replied, 'If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.'
- John 7:38 'Whoever believes in Me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.'
- So receive His Living Water and may it flow from within you.
8. A HELPER
- We all need a helper from time to time.
- A helper is someone who comes alongside us to lift the load and assist us where needed.
- This is a gift that God wants to give to us.
- John 14:16 'And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper (Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor-Counsellor, Strengthener, Standby), to be with you forever.'
- Right now, just take a moment and think about the areas in which you need help. Do you believe that the Lord will/can meet that need?
- So receive the Helper and the help that He gives you.
9. GOOD AND PERFECT GIFTS
- James 1:17 'Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.'
- I believe that God has many different and varied gifts that He wants to give us.
- The things He wants to give us are always good and perfect.
- He knows what we need, and He wants to meet those needs with His divine gifts.
- So receive the gifts He has for you.
- May you know His goodness, His tender mercies and His faithfulness and loving-kindness.
They say that the best things in life are free. I believe there are many more things that God wants to make available to us, but if we could just take hold of some of these and make them our own, I believe our lives would be different and fuller, because of all that He has provided.
By Pastor Andrew Roebert
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