Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1, verses 16-17.
Your children. Your saintly mom, dad, or grandparents. That unexpected bonus. Babies laughing. Not running out of gas on a crowded highway. Cold beer on a hot summer evening. Christmas morning gifts under the tree. Sunday dinner with your family. James says that EVERY good and perfect gift is from Jesus. All of them. Every one of them that you or I can think of, and all that we don’t. It’s easy to believe that good things that please us come from a loving God. He loves us. He died to save us. He constantly provides for us.
Here are a few things we might not consider good; what are they? Parents grounding their kids after the kids skip school. The upbraiding you get for not turning in a report on time. Getting denied credit when you want a new car but are financially unstable. A disease that gives you time to reflect before you die. Getting fired. An argument with your husband. Your wife leaving you after she catches you cheating. A speeding ticket. Death in the family: are these good and perfect gifts from above?
You know the answer.
A couple of days ago I finished reading a really good book, another Stephen King novel. “11/22/63” is about what you would think a novel of that title would be: the assassination of John F. Kennedy. In the book, the main character befriends a local tavern owner who shows him a portal that allows time travel. The tavern owner then implores the young man to travel back in time to prevent the assassination. I won’t give away the story, but there’s a theme that segues off these verses. Even the awful things in life are gifts from God. Even something as catastrophic as political murder has consequences, downstream effects on others. The main character finds this out and is given a choice about what to do. Consequences are gifts from Jesus.
Whether we know it or not, you and I have choices about what we do, and even those choices are gifts from God above. We can either look at all that He provides for us as blessings and gifts, or we can turn them around and convince ourselves that it just is never enough. No matter what we do, whether we realize or like it or not, Jesus is the only real constant in this universe He made, and everything about Him is only good. All that we have, are, do, think, or want is a gift from Him, even the things we think are bad.
Lord, thank you for all the gifts you give to me. I don’t deserve them, but thank you for them anyway and blessed be Your name.
What gifts have recently come into your life?
How do you feel about unexpected gifts?
What is Jesus telling you in this?