Friday, May 27, 2016

In the giving.

This is taken from a fund raising devotional 'The Neurotic Rooster.' I wrote it in the form of soliloquys between me and the Lord. These arose out of three short term mission study trips to Africa.
in a Zambian village

To us they seemed small, almost insignificant items. Weight restrictions on aeroplanes limited what we could carry. This, in turn, affected the type of gifts we could take to our hosts and folk in the village. We had a deflated soccer ball, teaching material, a couple of books and a banner made by the Churches of Christ, Green Hills Retirement Village, Maitland in NSW. They also contributed some soft toys they had knitted.

            We saw the boys playing soccer with their home made rag ball. When presented with their own real one the children were beside themselves with excitement. The banner was given at a home Bible Study meeting in a suburb of an East African city. The pastor requested we offer it to a seriously sick woman as a mark of love and support of God's people in Australia. She received it as a representative of her local church. The banner read, ‘Greetings from Australia’ and was decorated with Australian motifs. The joy that radiated from this woman because of the thoughtfulness of unknown people across the seas affected all who were present. Resources are so limited to village schools and village pastors. Our simple gifts of pencils, books and charts encouraged headmaster and teachers alike that Australians would even bother to think about such things. For me the highlight was giving a Bible and Commentary to the pastor. They virtually doubled his ‘library.’

            Once again we had tasted the wonderful truth of what Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” This is especially true when done in the Name of Jesus.

            You set the pattern Lord. You have given in a myriad of ways across the centuries to your creation that had nothing to merit such grace. But I guess that’s what grace is, meeting the needs of the needy. You do this even though many don’t even acknowledge your existence let alone your giving. I cannot throw stones at them, for I was one of their number. How grateful I am that somehow or other you opened my eyes to your gift to this world of yourself as Christmas, then Calvary demonstrate. Now I read in Ephesians 1:3 what else you want to do, and have done. “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.”  Oh, for eyes to perceive. O for a heart to believe. O for humility to receive.

            The Apostle Paul, a forthright proclaimer of your grace became emotional in writing to the Corinthians about your generosity. In 2 Corinthians 9:5 he wrote, “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift.” But he doesn't define it. This allows us to make a personal inventory from which to utter the same words. However a person understand it, that gift is always and ever linked in and with Jesus Christ and Calvary. There sin was dealt with and Eternal life offered. (Romans 6:23) Hallelujah!

Mary and Ray Hawkins
            The Psalmist’s words would sum up my heartfelt but inadequate response to your Gift and gifts. Please receive it I pray,...”How can I repay the Lord for all His goodness to me? I will lift up the cup of salvation and call upon the Name of the Lord. I will fulfil my vows to the Lord in the presence of all His people.” Psalm 116:12-14.

Final Word.

To receive is a pleasure. To give is an honour.

Ray Hawkins author 31 Day themed Devotionals.