The Gift from God
Imagine: A beautifully wrapped present rests under the Christmas tree with sparking lights and tinsel that beckons to be opened. The tag on the present says, “Merry Christmas 2019! From: God.” A red envelope rests on top with a message written in black ink that reads, “Please Open First.”
On Christmas Day, you eagerly open the red envelope and read the contents.
I am about to give you a precious gift. You may open the present and discover in detail all that I have planned for 2020.
What would you do?
- Eagerly open the present and read about a worldwide pandemic, stay-at-home orders, massive social unrest, loss of jobs, unexpected loss of a loved one, etc…
- Immediately throw the unopened present into the garbage, so that you will not be tempted to open it.
- Ask your neighbor to open the present and only reveal the good news.
- Hide the present in the closet and opened it up next Christmas to see if God was right.
Witness Well Suggestion:
This is an interesting and thought-provoking question to ask your neighbor, friend, or family member to start a spiritual conversation. Take the time to talk through their answers!
The answer to the multiple-choice question may largely depend upon how we are wired.
Armed with information, some people may think that we could make strategic decisions to position themselves to take advantage of any situation. Others may have answers to spend more time with a loved one if they knew they were going to lose them unexpectedly.
What would be an appropriate Christian response?
Is a proper Christian response to open the present? Then, where is your faith?
Faith in Christ trusts in God’s promises. There may be a temptation to trust in our own ingenuity or need to control rather than God’s sovereignty.
Is a proper Christian response to not open the present? Then, where is your exercise of stewardship?
Faith in Christ means to trust in God’s promises to weather any storm or blessing. There may be a temptation to be indifferent and simply let God do his thing.
Here is the catch.
Christians open this present every Christmas.
God is prophetic. He has already let us know what the future holds and how Christians ought to respond. It is God’s gift to those who trust in his promises.
The gift is his Word.
He promises there will be famines, earthquakes, persecution, wars, and rumors of war.
He promises that there will always be trouble in this world (John 16:33).
He promises that difficult times are to be expected because we live in the last days. (Matthew 24:7)
We are given enough blessings to receive a taste of heaven.
We are given enough difficulty to keep our eyes on heaven.
God doesn’t give us a timeline of when things will happen in this world but assures us that we are living in the last days before Jesus comes again.
In the meantime, Jesus tells Christians how to respond.
“Take heart!” (John 16:33) Why? “I have overcome the world.”
- He promises that he will never leave us nor forsake us.
- He promises that his presence will remain with us, in us, for us, and around us.
- He promises the spirit of peace in the presence of terror, joy in the presence of sorrow, love in the presence of hate, goodness in the presence of evil, and daily bread in the presence of hunger.
Witness Well Suggestion:
As the conversation winds down with your neighbor, you can tell them that you already know what’s inside the beautiful wrapped Christmas present. Because God’s love for the world is so great, he has given us a symbol that serves as a powerful reminder that he has already overcome the world. It’s a symbol of victory and a reminder that he always keeps his promises. It’s also a reminder that nothing can separate us from the love, peace, and assurance that can only be found in Christ. It’s a symbol to know that all my sins are fully forgiven right now because of what Christ has already done for me. My salvation is secure because of what’s inside this present. A cross. Believe in Christ and you will receive life.
Are you looking for more ways to start spiritual conversations?
Check out these posts for more ideas:
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