The father sat down his grown children and said, “I want to talk with you for five minutes. I have something to give you”. The young adults looked nervously at each other as the dad continued, “You both are on rigorous journeys this year. You’ve come a long way but this year will be one of challenge, change and growth. I wanted to give you something to help you know the truth. This is a gift from me, your dad. I handpicked each one for you. It was my decision in every way but only with you in mind. If you do not like this gift or are not ready to use it, it’s ok, I can wait”.
With those words he stepped forward and gave each of his children a name engraved, leather study Bible. These were not their first Bibles but they seemed to represent a newness I’d not before seen. He was acknowledging each of them and their special place in his heart and their special place in this world and his dream for each of them.
They received the gift differently…one was eager and exclaiming joy, excitement and thanks. The other was silent. This young adult was gently touching and rubbing the outer leather and slowly looking through the pages. The words that came were humble, honest and quiet, “Thank you for this but I’m not sure I’m ready for this yet. For you see, I know of people hurt by those who believe in these words. Dear friends of mine have been judged, condemned, and cast out by people claiming these words. How can that be?”
How can that be indeed? When have I or am I that person who condemns or casts out people by their looks, their choices, their zip code?
I went to China in May and found myself surrounded by millions of people. People our North American culture would consider poor and unsophisticated…not up to our standards. My daughter was in Haiti in July and experienced a people also impoverished with struggles different from you and me. They want and need clean water…plumbing, education.
In these travels we found the people interesting, we took pictures with them, we offered them trinkets from our great country. We gave and served without thought, without judgment. We loved the unlovely. We loved the impoverished; we served when we were long tired and exhausted. Are those travels different from my day today? Was I in mission-trip mode so the serving came easy? Have I received the Book from my Father and accepted it with joy and delight and live it accurately? Or have I received the Book and lived a life that is not reflective of the Book? Have I read the Book but lived a life of judgment and condemnation?
When our family evening was ending, one of our children said, “I want to serve. I want to be the one that welcomes the stranger and hangs out with him after the meeting. I want to make him feel that my time is all his and not be worried about what I’m missing with my friends. It’s that person who lives this Book.”
And our heavenly Father says to us today:
“I want to talk with you for five minutes. I have something to give you”. You are on a rigorous journey this year. You’ve come a long way but this year will be one of challenge, change and growth. I want to give you something to help you know the truth. This is a gift from me, your Dad. I handpicked each one for you. It was my decision in every way but only with you in mind. If you do not like this gift or are not ready to use it, it’s ok, I can wait”.