This series is still being shaped in many ways “right before your eyes” based on what you are sharing with me! That’s really exciting!
You’ll notice that the main title has changed to “The Gifts,” and it looks like the graphics will be built on two frameworks.
One is “The Gifts Of God For The People Of God.” Those are words from the Eucharist or Communion celebration, and that’s what the first graphic in this series was about. This framework seeks to ask and answer the questions “What if the only thing Jesus has to give us is Himself? Would we be satisfied?” This is about relationship and seeking Jesus for who He is rather than “getting stuff” from Him.
The other is new today and is “The Gifts To God From The People Of God.” It seeks to ask and answer the questions “What if the only thing we have to give Jesus is ourselves? Would He be satisfied?” This is also about relationship and “being enough in ourselves” to please God.
I think that both of these are things that many of us may struggle with from time to time when we focus on “getting stuff” and “being enough.” I think it’s right to say that is usually the way that the world operates, but it’s not the way that God operates.
For me, so often I’ve felt like I have nothing to give God that will please Him, that in one way or another, I just wasn’t good enough. Maybe you’ve felt like that too? It really wasn’t until recently that my feelings about this have changed as I’ve rethought “Things That Are Pleasing To God.”
Here’s the turning point realization for me: My Faith may please God, but He gave it to me in the first place and Jesus is My Coach to improve My Faith.
What if we looked at Our Heavenly Father like a loving earthly parent? (Even one from an old TV show like “Family Affair” or “The Courtship of Eddie’s Father” if imagining a loving earthly parent is tough for you. Seriously, I get that. I really do.) He gives his children money to go and buy a Father’s Day gift to give to him. Even lets them use his wrapping paper, his scissors, and his tape to dress it up like a great Father’s Day gift. He even gives them the materials and some ideas for the Father’s Day card to go with it all!
What if that’s really what Our Heavenly Father does with us? Only He gives us the faith, the courage, the generosity, the love and all of the other things we have to then give back to Him? And He lets us believe they were all from us! (Because we haven’t held on to those things.) And it’s exactly what He wanted! (Because they really are.) And we are the best children ever! (Because we really are.)
Yet all the time we know He gave us the gifts to give back to Him, and Jesus served as our guide for the tough parts, and the Holy Spirit helped from start to finish! That’s like a family relationship, wouldn’t you say?!? Yes, it is! And yes, you are enough!
But I am lowly and in pain; let your salvation, O God, protect me. I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with thanksgiving. This will please the Lord more than an ox or a bull with horns and hoofs. Psalm 69:29-31 (NRSV)
So what about the gifts of “My Praise, My Thanksgiving”? What about “Even In Afflictions And Pain”? Just think about this. Jesus never stopped offering praise and thanksgiving, even during His most anguishing and painful moments. He is our Example. He is our Guide. We can embrace Him and say, “Jesus, please show me and help me to have praise and thanksgiving, even though right now it feels like life is crushing me.” He gets it. He’s been there.
If I could give you “Ten Easy Steps,” I would, but I can’t. I really can only give you “One Often Difficult But Not Impossible Step,” and that is “Grab Onto Jesus.” He is enough. You in Him are enough.