An Element of Surprise: Gifts From God

Ephesians 2:8-10: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

Recently, my husband and I watched an unusual movie entitled, “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”, in which Walter is depicted as a man who lacks self-confidence in himself and fantasizes that he is stronger in another life. The photographer who he works for gives Walter an anniversary gift for his past 16 years of faithful, loyal service. It was a wallet with a beautiful inscription in the center; however, the wallet was empty–so he thought.

Walter wondered why he would be given an empty wallet, and then he sets out on a quest to find Sean, the photographer, in order to get the final cover photo he needs for the magazine they worked for. They eventually meet in a most unlikely place. When Walter asks about the photo, Sean asks whether he looked inside the wallet. Walter tells him that it was empty so he threw it away. The photographer smiles, then says, “I gave you a special gift and you did not go deeper in the wallet to find it!”

It turns out that what Walter was searching for all along was inside the wallet. He just didn’t look deep enough. He returns home and is able to locate the wallet and finds the final cover photo, which he gives to his publisher. To Walter’s surprise, the photo depicts himself on the front cover. The photographer credits Walter and other employees for his apparent success because without them he would not have succeeded.

When God gives us a free gift, sometimes we are like Walter–we forget to look further or deeper to understand the gift He has given us. The scriptures are filled with God’s promises–free gifts–for all of us to accept and to use them in serving others.

Good and perfect gift: James 1:17-18: “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.”

Spiritual Gifts: I Corinthians 12:4-6: “There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men.”

Eternal Life: Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Serving Others: I Peter 4:10: “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.”

There is a song that depicts going “deeper” in our faith and in the wisdom of our Lord Jesus Christ. “Deeper, Deeper” was written in the 1800’s by Charles Price Jones, a pastor of the Mt. Helm Baptist Church in Jackson, MS. The words of this great hymn are still sung in our churches today:

Deeper, deeper in the love of Jesus, Daily let me go.
Higher, higher in the school of wisdom, More of grace to know.
O deeper yet, I pray. And higher every day. And wiser, blessed Lord.
In Thy precious Holy Word.”

May the Lord bless you as you go deeper in His Love.

Blessings on you,

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