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12/24/15 ~ Midweek Meditation - Good Gifts

“Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change” (James 1:16-17 ESV)

There are a lot of wonderful things in this life: good careers, spouses, children, health, art, music, and Christmas presents (to name a few). We as Christians view these things as blessings from God, and that’s what they are – good things to be enjoyed. But what happens when God calls us to another mission field overseas and away from family, affluent careers, and the comfort of North America?

The truth is that most of us wouldn’t choose to live in a mud hut if we were offered a brick mansion with a fireplace, and most of us wouldn’t choose a life of solitude over having an abundant loving family. But some people do. Some people choose to give up everything to live in extraordinarily uncomfortable places. What drives this phenomenon is love – not a humanitarian affection championing the old rugged heart, but a new heart changed by God and filled with faith which works its way out through love (now that’s a gift!).

To be sure not every Christian is called to go and sell everything they own and move to the 10-40 window (the most unreached part of the world). Nor does a new heart automatically call us to overseas mission work, but it does call us to a mission. Or as Joe put it on Sunday, receiving a new heart always calls us to be ambassadors of our King aboard the train of our destiny.

While we move forward toward the second advent of Jesus (the train’s destination), we are called to serve the people around us, putting others’ needs before our own, and entrusting ourselves to the one who holds all things together by the power of His word. We are called to make prayerful decisions while keeping an ear to the call of the Holy Spirit in the greater Gospel mission and in doing these things we act as ambassadors of Christ here on the earth. Being an ambassador is another amazing gift from God. We get to partake in the reconciliation of a person and his or her creator, and in the imparting of true spiritual life to another human being.

And as if a new heart, and participation in the life giving message of the gospel wasn’t enough, He gives us the other things like money and family and friends too. But the truth is, those other things are small in comparison to the greater gifts of the Gospel. That’s why people can heed God’s call in their lives and go live in poverty and solitude; they understand the magnitude of what they have been given.

Which begs the question, do we understand the magnitude of the gifts we have been given? I wonder what my life might look like if I understood all that God has done on my behalf. What would yours look like? As we move into Christmas, let’s remember the greater gifts we have been given and thank God for them. Let’s remember that we were once dead in our sins, but now are new in Christ, and let’s share that amazing news with other people by being ambassadors for Christ in our words and in our works.

Joe Popp

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:17-21)