Sunday, October 26, 2014

On the Matter of Gifts

Gifts can be a problem—a real problem in your life. Whether through the giving, or the receiving of them, they can be a real problem.

You might wander what I’m talking about, here. Well, I can assure you that I am speaking about a very real problem, here.

Most of the time, a gift is easily dealt with: you kindly and graciously accept it, and you move on in life. Take, as an example, the Weeping Macaw pictured at right. What you see here is a trace, for presentation purposes.

The original is a painting on marble. I didn’t ask for it, but someone thought enough of me, and my service to the homeless and the veterans down in Springfield, Missouri, that it was presented to me as a gift. It has not been an easy thing to carry about, but it was presented to me as a gift by someone who appreciated me, and it is not an impossible, or inappropriate, burden.

Many years, in fact decades, ago, when I was yet a youth, I sought to present a gift to someone that I very greatly appreciated, and I was deeply wounded and heartbroken when it was rejected. When my gift was rejected I felt as if I was also being rejected, and it took a great deal of time and care and effort to show me that that was not the case at all, but that the gift was not allowable.

In such a case, when a gift is not something that you want, or is something that you feel you cannot receive and still be proper, you have a problem. You have to decide which of several concepts is the more important to you.

This perplexity has been presented to me, and I now present it to you, confident that the One who has presented the problem to me has done so in order that I would present it and reason it out with you.

You see the capitalization in the foregoing sentence, so I feel that I don’t really need to loudly announce who it is that has presented this problem to me, but let me say this: that I have been going about, filled with concern and doubt and trepidation for my soul and the life of one who has become very important to me; that they not be led astray—particularly not by one as wanton as I have been known to be—and that I not be led astray, for I have known what I can be.

The presentation of the problem was so shockingly and stunningly simple and direct, and yet in such an unexpected way as to send me reeling along this journey of self-examination and the increasing of the self-doubt already so extant: “Will you accept or reject my gift?”

Even as I write this, some peace has yet returned, for my answer, crude, and ungainly, and fallenness-filled, and trepidatious, yet fervent, and sincere, and disbelievingly hopeful, and, still, in its usual format for such prayers, has gone up.

It is exceedingly difficult to “word out” such a prayer, and I did not even want to give over the space to do so here, but have been ever so gently rebuked in the spirit, so let me simply share the general outline, here: “If this be not of You, then take it away; but if it is of You, then I accept it with all the joy in my heart.” In the past His reaction has always been the same, but has never been preceded by that question, above.

There are, truly, so many relationships, and hearts, and friendships, and expectations, and facets here involved, that the importance of this cannot be overstated, and must needs not be understated.

Certainly there are some who will take this on a more personal level than most would take it, and the importance of that level is not lost on me, but if this question was uttered to me by God, then it is God to whom I must answer, and that is the importance to which I appeal, and to which I must appeal, for there is no one more important to me than God.

Most assuredly, there are innumerable people who lay claim to what I utter here only to make excuses for their own sin, and it is also not lost on me that such is precisely what I have, in the past, been repeatedly accused of by those who, truly, are only making excuses for the sins of women against God and men, executed for the sake of their own wanton lusts and hateful indifference to the fates of the souls of men who suffer, unaided, through the periphery of the lives of those who see life as their own personal beauty pageant.

My heart has been on display for this entire issue, and if you cannot read that then you cannot read. I cannot afford concern for those accusations from such enemies of God; I must concern myself with God.

Whenever anyone is presented with a gift that sends them into such flights of caution and self-examination, are they not considering the source of that presented gift? Is that not the very first thing, in fact, to do? Is that not, indeed, part and parcel of the determination of that presentation as a gift and not a trap? Surely Satan has his pinions in, but God, the scissors that will trim!

When a fellow, fallen sinner is the source or avenue of such a presentation, then it is simpler than when the presentation or exchange is only on the spiritual level, for there you have something concrete to rest your reason on.

Surely in the physical exchange you can still be tricked, and you should stay on guard against such an event, but when the practiced, physical senses are not involved Satan has more leeway and more tools at his disposal and less of our practiced, experiential certainty with which to contend.

You must first discern the source—and take care in doing so, for where the Spiritual Realm is concerned, souls are concerned, and for those souls to which you do harm, God will require the blood of them from your hand. It is that serious—so take it that way.

Only once you have discerned the source can you move on to the weightier matters, for then you must face where your heart truly lays, and that might be no pleasant proposition, for each of us hides skeletons in the dark, for none of us is yet in heaven. Yes, even the most foul, wretched, disgusting filths among us are still ashamed at something—and hide it.

This process will free those skeletons and expose your sin to you, but who do you love more: your sin, or your God? You cannot live with both, you know. You cannot live with both. In the end, and for all eternity, you will have either one or the other. You will not hold both. Scripture tells us that you will have the desires of your heart. But are those desires for God, or for unrighteousness? In the end, you will not hold both.

Now we move to something more serious, something far more grave: Whom do you desire to offend?

Let that sit and bristle for a while, for when you face a presentation such as this, if it be from God there will be offense, for there will be those who think themselves right and true who will not be prepared for where they will find themselves regarding you.

For your own part, let it not be that you actually desire to offend anyone. But whom are you least willing to offend? Years ago I released a recording titled, “Marriage Matters More”, so I ask you: to you, truly, who matters more, God or men?

Do not think that you will not face that choice because God will not share you with the enemy, but will have you to Himself, and any who oppose His will are, in fact, His enemy. Be not His enemy!

Recall, in the fifth paragraph of this article, how I felt when my gift was rejected. Is this not how God feels when His gift is rejected? And He truly knows the heart!!! As I wrote above, “be not His enemy”; do not reject the gift of God.

For my own part, I have done the safest thing I know how. I have exposed my heart to Him; my desires are known. I have not grasped at it with a clenched fist, but have, with open hand, lain it back in His, saying, “Thy will be done!”, hoping against hope that He will lay it back in mine, but acquiescing to His will, and not insisting upon mine, because trusting Him in some things means trusting Him in all.

He is a most loving and gracious God, and He is most serious on the matter of gifts.

December 2014 St. Louis Amigan, PDF file

Be Heaven Sent!