The Five Minute Friday prompt this week reminded me of a sermon I preached a few years back. I decided to share some of it as my weekly writing exercise.
In case you’ve forgotten, Five Minute Friday is a flash mob of writers interpreting a singular word. We congregate at Kate’s place (http://katemotaung.com/2015/06/04/five-minute-friday-gift/)to share our work and I invited you to visit to see just what these incredible writers have contributed.
So, here goes. I’m not setting the timer, but it’s time to GO on the prompt word GIFT…
While heaven is a gift from God, we have to accept it. We have to unwrap the present.
Certainly some of us just tear into that package. Chards of paper go flying as we rip open the wrapping to reveal the gift. Others are more deliberate, carefully unwrapping the box. It takes seemingly forever to separate the paper from the gift.
That leads us to our second responsibility. What are we going to do with that gift? Are we going to place it on a shelf and look at it from a distance? Or are we going to use it, enjoy it, share it.
You see, I think when we meet God face to face, He’s not going to ask us how much money we gave or how often we went to church or how we supported missions. He’s going to ask us two simple questions.
First, He is going to ask us if we believe in His Son.
I think everyone who passes themselves off as a Christian will correctly answer that question. You see, Jesus Christ — His Son — is the gift. For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him may not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16). That’s the good news.
But I think there will be a second question. What did you do with that gift?
It might be enough to get us into heaven just believing in Christ but if He is just a trophy sitting on a shelf to be seen only on Sundays and special occasions, do we really believe? Or are we fooling ourselves?
That’s why the second question is so important. We have to believe not only in Christ but in His power. And we have to use that power every day. And we have to share that power. And we have to allow Christ to shine through us in all we do and say.
Even Jesus did things … made choices … performed actions. He instructed the servants on what to do when He turned water into wine. He told the disciples to find the kid with the fish. He healed the sick. He raised people from the dead including. He took advantage of the circumstances at the time and used them for God’s good.
That’s what we’re called to do. Use the gift. Make choices. Do something. Be observant. Keep the big picture in sight. Let the Light of the fire shine through. Take time to witness the little ordinary everyday miracles. Watch spring spring. Enjoy the sunshine even on a cold, windy day. Hold a baby. Dance in the rain. Sing. Soak in life.
Each day, angels visit the footsteps of the faithful, leaving gifts that quietly offer God’s grace, comfort and protection. All we have to do is recognize them and pick them up.
Some of us received the gift at an early age. I, for example, accepted Christ as an early teen when I received the sacrament of Confirmation. It was then I reasoned, if I was talking the talk of following Jesus, I had to walk the walk as well. And even though I’ve strayed from the path from time to time, I’ve tried to make sure my way was synonymous with His way. Others come to Christ later in life, an epiphany, an “ah hah” moment. They tend to be passionate about their faith. I call them Paul Christians, turning their back on their past on their own road to Damascus and using the gift to move forward.
Others, unfortunately, are still waiting. Some may be working on the wrapping. Others may be working on other presents — self, idols, control, anger, impurity, evil desires, greed.
It’s up to us seasoned and newbie Christians to let the power of Christ shine through for them, not by telling them but by showing them. You can’t preach or prod or persuade or nag them to salvation, but you can show them salvation. You can be the example. You can be the spark. You can be the conduit God uses to present His gift to another soul.
Don’t leave your Jesus in the pew. Bring Him home with you so others can see why Jesus — complex and complicated, simple and uncomplicated — is such a valued gift.
Don’t wait until you’re sorta, kinda dead to realize the importance of the gift we’ve been given. Let the Light shine through us while we’re very much alive.
What are you doing with the gift of Jesus Christ?
THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: Whatever doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger.