Posts Tagged ‘good gifts’

Art by Robert & Shana ParkeHarrison

I had an epiphany this morning. The Book of Life only has the good stuff in it. I mean, it’s not a list of all our mistakes, our sins, or our misdemeanors. That’s the point. If one’s name isn’t in the “book,” it’s because there’s nothing to write. That which is written there, nurtures life in others.

Revelation 20:12, 15
And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. . . . Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.

The other day, we had our micro-church (small group) meeting and talked about the feeling some of us have about “not doing enough.” [James 2:14-26] And at that time, I shared how that feeling or self-perception can morph into condemnation, which is NOT from God [Romans 8:1]. It’s like this: the poor will always be with us [Mark 14:7], the need will always be greater than what we can give. This is the nature of our current world, filled with strife, jealousy, and yes, even evil. Everywhere we look, there are people who are in ill health, depressed, lonely, out of work, addicted, or just plain lost. Each of us cannot tackle every misfortune. But we can touch one. And then another one.

We must, as they say, “keep on keeping on.” And that means, doing what we can, when we can, because we can. Each good work, each loving deed, each prayer, and each kindness works to tip the grand scale toward love and away from despair. We tend to minimize our good actions because they seem so small in the face of a daunting and urgent need. That’s unproductive thinking.

None can know the impact that a single kind remark might have.

I remember, a long time ago, I wrote a note to a woman who was participating in a retreat (Walk to Emmaus, for those who are familiar with it). Several years after that, while sharing my story at a Women’s Aglow meeting in a completely different state, this same woman came up to me with the note, now old and somewhat crumpled in her hand, and told me, with tears in her eyes, that my note had saved her life. I have no clue what I even wrote. And yet, this tiny act, so seemingly insignificant, became the difference between life and death for someone else.

As Yoda said, “do or not do, there is no try.” And so it is with the extension of self toward others. Do. But do not judge what you do, this is not the way of love and God.

When Jesus walked this earth, did he not face even more insurmountable odds. One man, then three, and then twelve, changed the face of humanity in three years. Ok, so he did a few miracles, but ultimately, I’m not so sure those are the actions that made the real difference. I think it was his authentic presence, his touch, his listening ear, his compassion, and his unconditional of acceptance of everyone he met. He showed us “human,” the way human was intended to be from the beginning.

Today, I can choose to write into the Book of Life.

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I’ve always wondered about the sequencing of this verse: ask, seek, and knock. Each of these actions has a promise of success. Yes, but first there must be intent and choice, a decision to do something different.

Matthew 7:7
Ask and it [the good gifts] will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.

When I ask, I am unsure about the present situation. I am curious about the possibilities. I am thinking that there might be a better way, a solution that is not immediately obvious. I am asking for information about the way to the good gifts, those things I may need in life to move forward. What do I need for my next step in life Lord? I’m just askin’.

When I seek, I am a little more sure of the end result. I’m thinking there is something specific that will improve my situation, that will bring clarity, that will meet my need. And I am encouraged to look. I have asked and I am getting the green light to go for it.

And finally, I am knocking for one of two reasons: I am announcing myself (I have arrived at the place of discovery). Or, I get there and I am facing an obstacle that I cannot move on my mind. It must be opened from the other side.

So what are the good gifts that are on the other side, at the end of my search, in the response to my questions?

“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” [Matthew 7:9-11]

It’s in the moment, in the now, that thing or knowledge or revelation which is needful. And not before. The good gifts are not the luxuries of life. The good gifts are the perfect gifts, those which we cannot, in that instant, provide for ourselves.

What good gift do I need right now, sweet Jesus?

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