Have you ever refused a gift someone has given to you because you did not like it? Maybe you took the gift but you put it in a closet or up on a shelf. You never used the gift. It just sit in the dark getting dusty. Have you ever visited someone who cooks you a meal but you refuse it because it is not food you like. I will use fish as an example. (By the way I love fish, actually I love food. Okay most food.) They fried some catfish or baked some salmon but since you do not like fish you turn the meal down. Now think about the effort that went in to preparing that meal or what may have been involved in getting you that gift. Now think about the gift God gave us in His Son Jesus. How many people rejected Him when He walked on this earth speaking love and redemption to all who would listen? Now look around the world today. Are people not doing the same thing today? We all have this wonderful gift from God. Given to us through His mercy and forgiveness and all we have to do is to receive the gift and give thanks. Some out right refuse the gift while others say thank you with a smile yet put the gift up and go about their lives forgetting what was given to them. Living their lives and not appreciating the sacrifice made for them.
Take a moment and reflect on gifts and food that have been given to you. I am sure you were thankful for the effort but did you refuse it, or put it on a shelf? Did the food go bad and you had to throw it away? We have discussed the gift of salvation God gave to us in His Son Jesus. Most of you who are reading these words have probably received this gift and are truly grateful. Yet there are other gifts God has given to you that you either refused or put up on a dark shelf and forgot about it. Yet you pray to God for Him to bless you with one specific thing or another, but God has already tried to give it to you. The packaging may not have been to your liking or maybe it was not done exactly like you asked for so the gift is either refused or neglected. I am not saying the reason we do not always get what we pray for is because of this. I have waited lengthy periods of time for prayers to be answered and sometimes God has told me “No. I have something better for you.” The point I am trying to make is that appreciate the gifts you are given and actually receive them. Then put the gift to use and do not put it away to be forgotten about.
Here is a parable written in scripture. I have chosen the ESV version because I wanted the simplicity of the wording to help us better understand the story. My personal preference is NKJV.
Luke 14:15-24 English Standard Version (ESV)
15 When one of those who reclined at table with him heard these things, he said to him, “Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!” 16 But he said to him, “A man once gave a great banquet and invited many. 17 And at the time for the banquet he sent his servant[a] to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’18 But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a field, and I must go out and see it. Please have me excused.’19 And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them. Please have me excused.’ 20 And another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’ 21 So the servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house became angry and said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor and crippled and blind and lame.’22 And the servant said, ‘Sir, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room.’ 23 And the master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled. 24 For I tell you,[b] none of those men who were invited shall taste my banquet.’”
- Luke 14:17 Or bondservant; also verses 21 (twice), 22, 23
- Luke 14:24 The Greek word for you here is plural
English Standard Version (ESV)
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
The first gift we are given by God is Jesus who is our Savior. One of the acts a person does after receiving Jesus, is they are baptized to my a public statement about their belief in Jesus. Baptism being symbolic of Jesus’s life, death, and resurrection. Then we share with others what He is doing in our lives and how His love is transforming us, making us a new creation. We no longer live our life for ourselves but to glorify Him. How we now live is our witness to the world.
Think about a gift God has given to you to use.
Are you using that gift or is it getting dusty on a shelf?
If you are using this gift, share what experiences you have had, and how this gift has helped you to grow closer to Jesus _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________.