Friday, May 12, 2006

The Right Gift

Ralph was invited to a wedding shower. As was the custom the guests were asked to bring a gift to the marrying couple. He, and the other male guests, was to bring a gift for the groom. Ralph new that the groom – Peter - enjoyed working with computers and perhaps needed disks to store some of the work Peter had done on his computer. He decided to buy Peter a package of CD-R’s (Recordable CD’s.) Some of Ralph’s friends sneered when they heard which gift he bought for Peter. Ralph replied with a smile, “Wait and see.”

While at the gathering Peter and Brenda – the bride – opened their gifts. They were the usual wedding shower personal gifts: soaps, candles, lotions, and underwear. Brenda was very excited about her gifts. Peter was polite but not excited in his response. He just nodded to the gift giver saying quietly, “Thanks.” This was the case until he opened Ralph’s gift. He saw the CD-R’s, opened his eyes, his mouth smiled wide open, and said loudly and with excitement, “CD-R’s? Gee, Ralph thanks. Wow CD-R’s!” Looking now at his fiancĂ© he said, “Honey, we can burn the pictures of the wedding and the honeymoon on these.” Then he looked at Ralph and said, “Thanks again, Ralph.” Almost everyone in the room, including Brenda, was stunned looking at each other, trying to understand Peter’s response. One of the female guests said tentatively, “It must be a guy thing.” All of the other guests laughed quietly in agreement. Then an older lady responded to that comment, “Yes that may be, however I just think Ralph got the right gift.” Ralph new Peter well enough to get Peter a gift Peter would really like. That is perhaps the biggest requirement in giving out the right gift, knowing the person you are giving it too.

We know from the Bible that the Holy Spirit gives gifts to those who are willing to serve. We also know that the Holy Spirit distributes these gifts to His individual servants as He wills (1 Corinthians 12: 11). We do not choose our gifts. The Holy Spirit chooses the gifts He gives to us. This fact has two implications: one is for the receiver and the other for those surrounding the receiver.

The Holy Spirit is God. We would all agree that God knows us better than we know ourselves. After all, He takes time to number the amount of hair in our body (Luke 12:17.) If there is Some One that can follow the greatest requirements to give out a gift is the Holy Spirit. He knows our life, our circumstances, and us better than anyone else. So who are we to question the gift given to us? The Spirit is not trivial in His giving. He gives with a purpose. He gives for the profit of all, and “For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:” Ephesians 4:12, 13. This answers the implication for the receiver of the gifts.

The following answers the implication for those surrounding the receivers of the gifts. If the Holy Spirit is God -who knows best and gives with a purpose - who are we then to question the gift given to our brother or sister. Remember, that the recipient of the gift did not choose his or her gift; God did and does the choosing. Sometimes we think we know someone as Ananias thought he knew Paul. Let us read in Acts 9,

Acts 9:13 Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem:
Acts 9:14 And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name.
Acts 9:15 But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:
Acts 9:16 For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake.

God may have formed Paul in the womb for the very job he was to do, such as Jeremiah (Jeremiah 1:5). Just like Paul and Jeremiah were formed and ordained for the work God chose them to do, so are you and I. If we like Paul and Jeremiah are willing, the Holy Spirit will enable us with His gifts to do the work He has us do. If the gift comes from God, then it is the right gift indeed.

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