“If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children. how much more will Your Father. who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him?”  Matthew 7:11

As we explore this topic, perhaps we should first come to some consensus concerning what exactly a gift is.  If you’ve read any of my other posts (and a sincere thank you if you have), you know I tend to jump right on dictionary.com to look for standard definitions.  So some of the concepts they choose in their definition of gift are voluntary, no expectation of a return gesture, freely given.

I take the Wednesday paper.   That I go out in the morning and it is there is not a gift.  I expect it in return for the payment that I make and there is a requirement that it be there.  I go out on Thursday and there is the morning paper.  This I didn’t request.  This I didn’t pay for (nor am later subsequently billed for), freely given.  If it continued day after day, I would say it was a mistake; maybe a new delivery person, but it does not.  It is a gift.

I have a dog.  We take walks together.  Given the size and power of the dog I am not going to make a claim concerning who exactly walks who.  It’s kind of a mutual determination kind of thing.  Anyway, as we walk a person down the street who I’m not acquainted with other than a wave now and then is mowing his yard next to the sidewalk.  My neighbor would not know this, but my dog is not all that fond of machinery or at least the loud sound of lawn mower.  So I can either move across the street in adequate distance ahead of time, be drug across the street if I wait too long, or come to a complete halt no matter what I try until the lawn mower leaves.  But none of that happens.  My neighbor not only stops mowing the strip between the sidewalk and the curb but completely shuts off the lawn mower.  My dog and I quickly and serenely pass by with a thank you for his gesture; his gift.

My point?  Well for one, both of these are small things I know, but I would submit to you that they happen more often than we think; the cup of coffee purchased by a coworker, the stranger that let’s us in line in front of them, the person who stops to help us pick up some dropped papers etc.  Ironically, sometimes we avoid or feel bad about accepting these gifts.  Can I trust the person?  Why would they do that?  I don’t want to owe anyone, anything.

Additionally, often these “gifts” come from people we know; family members, coworkers, friends.  And that is why we sometimes miss the fact that they even happened.  “Oh, that’s just the way so and so is.”, we tell ourselves after they’ve given up their seat for us the thousandth time or given us their last piece of gum.  Somehow it turns from a gift to an expectation.

Jesus is trying to make a point.  He has been teaching the multitudes in His famous sermon on the mount.  It started out with the beatitudes and has now come to the point about approaching God.  Some would have said that you can’t approach God directly.  Some would have said that you have to go through someone else; a Pharisee or other leader in the temple. Still others would say you have to be good first; rich, powerful, famous, then you can approach God.  Jesus has just finished exhorting everyone; all you need to do is knock, ask and/or seek and there will be opening, granting, finding.  Christ goes on to make an illustration that drives the point home.  You and I can be evil.  You and I can decide to be selfish, stingy, hurtful people.  Yet even You and I can sometimes be generous.  You and I can help a loved one when they are in need.  If You and I, who can be evil, still know how to give good gifts, do good deeds for one another; how much more will our Heavenly Father, who knows no evil, who’s very nature is only Love and Generosity shower us with blessings if we will only approach Him and ask.

Dear brothers and sisters, Jesus Christ tells us Our Heavenly Father is waiting.  He is waiting patiently.  Why is He waiting you might ask?  Why not shower His gifts upon us right now?  For one, I believe it is pure wisdom.  You see in waiting for us to ask, and in our asking, we have to acknowledge that that we believe in Him, we acknowledge His existence and power.  If we didn’t believe in Him; we’d never ask in the first place.  How quick we might be to misguidedly attribute God’s blessings to fate, luck or our own abilities if we didn’t first humbly come to Him and ask.

It’s not my words; it’s His.  It is not my promise; but His.  Our Heavenly Father never says what He doesn’t mean; never makes a promise He won’t keep.  Seek Him and His Gifts.  Go to Him in prayer, both seeking and praising.  He is Good.  His gifts are Good. He is waiting to give.

Our Most Gracious Heavenly Father; thank you that You open Yourself and Your abundance to us, asking only that we will come to You, in faith and ask.  Give us the spirit of humility that we come to You and ask; not out of a sense of deserving, but out of the sense of lost without You.  Forgive our doubting nature, believing as we do that there must be a catch.  Fill us with a desire to rightly praise Your Most Holy Name for the abundance, generosity and perfection of Your gifts freely given.  We pray this in the Name of the Greatest Gift of all, Your Son Jesus Christ, given to us for our salvation.  Amen

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