Gift and the Perfect Gift

A couple of days ago, our Henry was there at Libby’s house with Agnes and wittingly said, “I have signed up in the ECW as a member” (Women’s Auxiliary). Sure enough Henry had been there several days with his wife Agnes preparing for the rummage sale. Henry would be here every Sunday morning and open the church and turn the lights on for the service. Henry would be there every Angel Food Ministry. Thomas Hall said that Henry was there at the Pancake dinner flipping pancakes. Henry was there as usual on Friday morning for rummage sale. I saw him seated in the car cringing with pain. Went and prayed with him and requested Agnes if he could be taken to the hospital. Henry was admitted and later in the night he was transferred to the ICU. Saturday I got an urgent call to the hospital and Agnes said that Henry’s kidneys were failing and he might not make it. Went to the ICU. There he was, very jovial even in his pain. True to his name, Mr. Cross was exuding sweetness during these difficult moments. There was something very unusual about this person in the ICU, who knew even if he were to pass on he was contented and would embrace death. I saw his son crying away thinking his father was near death. “I’m not afraid,” Henry said. “I know Christ is there for me. I’m so thankful for our church, our members and you and Holly. I’m so glad to have met you in the last years of my life.” I just couldn’t hold my tears. Then I told him, holding his hands, “You are a saint.” Henry was quick to decline and said I’ve done things that were not right. Then I said, “We all have our past and the Good Lord has forgiven us all.” And then I thought to myself, “You are only going by an earlier flight” and said to Henry “We will follow you home, where we will meet again.” Let us continue to pray for Henry. I wish the Good Lord will let him be with us.
Today’s lesson in the Epistle has this: EVERY good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. Just take a look around. (Really take a look around) Each of us is a gift to the Lord, to one another and to this body of Christ. How precious this gift can be. Each of us is a great gift from The Father. Our life is gift from God – what we offer in return is our gift unto him. I want you to know this is church family – call it an extension of your own family, where we love care for one another. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Have the same regard for one another (Romans 12: 15-16). Whatever gift you have, give it unto the Lord. Anyway you can. You may wonder why I am talking about Henry so much this morning. I am not sure how long he will be with us…but with his silent, dedicated presence he has surely manifested his love for this church family. Each of us can be Henrys doing the best for the Lord in an unassuming way and will be commended by the Lord, “Blessed are the meek…” It is not for seniors alone to care for this church. There were so many of them helping out in the rummage sale. It’s ours. Involve the young children. Teach them to love the Lord and His body the church. Be a part of anything that is going on, any project that might need our time. Feel belong to this family and this family will also be there for you when you need it. Belongingness and care is reciprocal. We are called to accomplish beautiful things for the Lord in Northwest Arkansas. Take time for the Lord and you will see His blessings.
“I had gone a-begging from door to door in the village path, when thy golden chariot appeared in the distance like a gorgeous dream and I wondered who was—this king of all kings! My hopes rose high and me thought my evil days were at an end, and I stood waiting for alms to be given unasked and for wealth scattered on all sides in the dust. The chariot stopped where I stood. Thy glance fell on me and Thou camest down with a smile. I felt that the luck of my life had come at last. Then of a sudden though didst hold out thy right hand and say, “What hast though to give me? Ah, what a kingly jest was it to open Thy palm and to a beggar to beg! I was confused and stood undecided, and then from my wallet I slowly took out the least little grain of corn and gave it to thee. But how great my surprise when at the day’s end I emptied my bag on the floor to find a least little grain of gold among the poor heap! I bitterly wept and wished I had had the heart to give thee my all.” – Rabindranath Tagore’s Gitanjali ( India’s Nobel Laureate)
Let us ponder on the perfect gift from above—the Holy Spirit, who is the counselor whom Jesus sent to us on the Pentecost who is able to lead us into this worship
“And yet the Ever-blessed Spirit of God is here; the Presence of the Eternal Son, ten times more glorious, more powerful than when He trod the earth in our flesh, is with us. Let us ever bear in mind this divine truth—the more secret God’s hand is, the more powerful—the more silent, the more awful. We are under the awful ministration of the Spirit, against whom whoso speaks, hazards more than can be reckoned up; whom whoso grieves, loses more of blessing and glory than can be fathomed. The Lord was with Joseph, and the Lord was with David, and the Lord, in the days of His flesh, was with His Apostles; but now, He is with us in the Spirit. And inasmuch as the Divine Spirit is more than flesh and blood; inasmuch as the risen and glorified Saviour is more powerful than when He was in the form of a servant; inasmuch as the Eternal Word, spiritualizing His own manhood, has more of virtue for us, and grace, and blessing, and life, than when concealed in it, and subject to temptation and pain; inasmuch as faith is more blessed than sight; by so much more are we now more highly privileged, have more title to be called kings and priests unto God, even than the disciples who saw and touched Him. He who glorified Christ, imparts Him thus glorified to us. If He could work miracles in the days of His flesh, how much more can He work miracles now? and if His visible miracles were full of power, how much more His miracles invisible. Let us beg of Him grace wherewith to enter into the depth of our privileges,—to enjoy what we possess,—to believe, to use, to improve, to glory in our present gifts as “members of Christ, children of God, and inheritors of the kingdom of heaven.” John Henry Newman
May we imitate Henry Cross in his imitation of our Lord and Master and depend on the Holy Spirit who is our sanctifier and move on to seek first His kingdom and its righteousness.