June 21, 2024

The Church Mouse: Important Gifts

“As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.” (1 Peter 4:10)

Let me tell you about my friend Gladys. When it comes to giving gifts, she is always worrying she will give something that is of lesser value than the gift than the gift she is receiving? She sets limits with all of her friends on the amount they are allowed to spend on gifts. And she expects the givers to abide by these rules. And whenever she receives a gift that she thinks might be over the set limit, she is upset with the giver. She worries about this each time she is shopping for a gift.

This got me to thinking about an experience I heard of a few years ago with a Church. There was a mission program with an African church to raised money to purchase an airplane. The idea was for the Africans to use the plane to fly to aid the sick and bring them much needed medical supplies and transporting them hospitals. This airplane was not cheap. Even though was a used plane. It had to be renovated to meet the requirements of the mission work. It took a lot of time and money to meet this goal. But finally the deed was accomplished. 

The African Bishop came to the United States receive the gift of the plane. It was an exciting time to be giving these people this wonderful and useful gift.  The African Bishop gave the American Bishop a gift in return. It was quite funny. You see the Africans gave the Americans a chicken! Yes, they brought a live chicken to the American Bishop.  You see chickens are of great value to the people of Africa.  

So you see sometimes the value of the gift given is not always apparent when first given to the recipients.  I not am sure that Gladys would have understood the value of this exchange. 
However, this made me think of another gift that was not of equal value. When God gave his one and only Son to the world, knowing full well that His followers, (you and I) would have no way of ever coming up with a return gift of equal value to give back to God. 

God wants us and just us, not some gift that we think we can make or buy.  He wants us to just love him.  There is nothing that we can give as a gift except ourselves to God and that is exactly what God wants. Just like The American Bishop graciously accepted the gift of a chicken in return for an expensive airplane we are to just give ourselves to God. We worry too much about the value of things.  This reminds me of another funny little story: 
“Seems a man died & went to heaven. He gets to the Pearly Gate where the Check-in-Angel meets him there at the gate. The man is dragging a very large heavy suitcase with him. The Check-in-Angel tells the man that he must leave the suitcase outside the gate; because he cannot take anything into heaven with him. The man insists that he must bring the suitcase with him. Finally, after arguing heatedly several minutes with the man. The Check-in Angel asked the man. 
“What is in the suitcase that is so important to you?”
The man opens the suitcase and it is full of gold.  The Check-in-Angel bursts into  laughter. The man becomes angry at the angel. Finally the Check-in-Angel stops laughing and said to the man.  
“Why are you bringing pavement to heaven?” 

See what we think is important to us is not important is not important to God. 
Remember what the Bible says that ‘God’s way is not our way.’ What we think is valuable is likely not valuable to God. He wants us to focus on Him and not stuff. He wants our full attention. He is interested in us and we should be very interested in Him. After all he is the one who holds our future. 

Prayer–“Father God, thank you God for loving us. We praise you for the gift of your Son and eternal life that you freely gave to us. Thank you for forgiving us of our sins, repeatedly.  Help us to remember that you always love and care for us and that you want us to have the very best.  Remind us of this often as we have short attention spans and are prone to repeat our sins. Help us to understand that should alway be doing your will and not ours. Remind us that we are your people. In Jesus name, Amen.

the Church Mouse
Word  hard; pray harder!