Ever stop to think that everything you have is a gift?
I have. Each of my children was born into the world naked, screaming, filling their little lungs with free air. They are a gift to me, not something I crafted with my own hands and certainly not something my doctors created.
They never expected me to have children. Yet, I have them, each one born in a hospital birthing room with those amazed doctors attending.
After the Apgar scores, they were washed, diapered, heads topped with little knit caps and their little bodies tightly bundled in those pink-and-blue striped blankets that made them look like little sausages.
From the beginning, everything my children have had has been a gift:
Blankets, onesies and toys and all that would come later: a multitude of meals, museum visits, picnics, voice and ballet lessons, T-ball, soccer, basketball and countless uniforms, haircuts and hairdos, truckloads of clothes, birthday parties with armloads of gifts, braces, vacations, plane tickets, medical care, hospital stays (only a few, for which we are thankful) and camp and college fees. Our continual presence, protection, provision.
All of it a gift.
No strings. No price. Just: Because we love you, we are freely giving you what you need and some of what you want. Enjoy the gift.
This is actually my story and yours, too.
Think of it. We are naturally selfish, greedy, all-about-me creatures. We like to take credit for our successes, blabbering about pulling ourselves up by our own bootstraps and being self-made men and women.
Nonsense. We’d all be nothing if Someone hadn’t been generous with us.
The apostle Paul wrote:
“For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive. And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?” (I Cor 4:7)
- Smart? Have a mind for high level math… facility with languages… musically gifted? You had nothing to do with that. Some gifts are hard-wired. You might have been born with a deficit of some kind, a learning disorder.
- Beautiful? Be thankful instead of vain. You could just as easily bare an unsightly deformity. Though society elevates the “beautiful,” being unattractive doesn’t diminish one’s worth. Believe it or not, God actually takes responsibility for the less than perfect people among us. (Exodus 4:11)
- Born to wealth? So what? You didn’t earn it. None of us choose our parents. You could have as easily been born into Third World poverty.
The older I get, the more I am aware that we make too much of ourselves. We so easily forget from whence we came, or what might have been, and to whom we owe a great debt.
Our pastor recently ended an eloquent sermon about the life of Noah with a point that has stayed with me: No matter where we go, no matter what we achieve, no matter who we become, we ought never to forget God.
God alone is the author of Life. It is He who made and formed us. (Deu 32:6) And it is God who makes possible every good thing we enjoy: “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father…” (James 1:17)
Enjoy the good gifts of life, but don’t get twisted about their source. I didn’t do it and neither did you. God did.