Posted by: davidbowerkingwood | October 23, 2019

God’s Third Greatest Gift!

A Work in Progress

In September of 2013 I published an essay, “God’s Second Greatest Gift.” In this essay I wrote in the first paragraph:

“In the minds of any Christian there can be no doubt about the identity of God’s greatest gift; the incarnation of the Second Person of the Trinity to die on the cross for the sins of the world is, without any doubt, God’s greatest gift to mankind! The wonder of this gift defies explanation or analysis; it is grace, mercy and love embodied in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Toward the end of the essay I finally identify God’s Second Greatest Gift:

“God’s second greatest gift is a hungering and thirsting after the word of God, the Bible’s message to a world malnourished and starving for the teachings of Jesus. If you do not feel this hunger and thirsting then pray to God that He will give it to you!”

I still believe that essay to be true, but would now like to add God’s third greatest gift to the list of gifts we can enjoy from our Lord and God. Like the first two, this third gift has been paid for by the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ and is available to every Christian. This third gift flows from the first two but must, however, be learned and faithfully applied to life if it is to be enjoyed.

God’s Creation

I have long been amazed by the spectacular diversity of God’s creation; our family are animal lovers and have enjoyed the companionship of many wonderful animals of different species as members of our families. While the various species may have similar characteristics, they have been given unique personalities who bring totally distinct perspectives and behavior to the family.

While this is easily observed in people, it is also true, in a more subtle way, with all of God’s creation. Every created being, most specifically including you and me, is unique and has a different path that has been laid out before them by our creator, the Lord Jesus Christ. I’ve mentioned before my love for Psalms 139, particularly verse 16 where it is written:

“You saw me before I was born.
    Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out
    before a single day had passed.”

The enormity of that thought surpasses my very best efforts to comprehend it; it is a thought that I must embrace by faith with no expectation of full understanding. It is something I must add to that long list of impossible-to-understand items I must simply receive by faith and not by sight. Each of us travels a unique path that has been determined for us by our Lord in eternity past.

God’s Promise to his Children

God, in his loving grace and mercy, has promised his children to work all things together for their good. In Romans 8:28-30 it is written:

28 And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. 29 For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And having chosen them, he called them to come to him. And having called them, he gave them right standing with himself. And having given them right standing, he gave them his glory.”

We are cautioned not to try and understand what is happening and why it may be happening the way it does; in Proverbs 3:5-6 we are told:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
    do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do,
    and he will show you which path to take.

One important lesson we must learn is we are not promised only good will happen to us; we are promised that all things work together for good; the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ is the perfect illustration of that principle.

Now to the Third Greatest Gift

The third greatest gift must be learned and applied if it is to be enjoyed; even the Apostle Paul had to learn it. In Philippians 4:10-13 it is written:

“10 How I praise the Lord that you are concerned about me again. I know you have always been concerned for me, but you didn’t have the chance to help me. 11 Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. 12 I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. 13 For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.”

The third greatest gift is the gift of contentment with what you have. I make no claim to having fully attained that gift and freely confess I have not been subjected to the same tests experienced by the Apostle Paul; I do acknowledge my heartfelt desire to strive for that gift and seek daily to come ever closer to enjoying the gift more fully.

I can further acknowledge, by God’s grace, I have peace and contentment with what I have; I find it very liberating to not desire what I do not possess. The world seeks to instill within us a desire for the new, the better, the different and tells us how the quality of our lives would be improved if only we had the product or service being advertised.

The basic truth of the matter is, peace and contentment come through an abiding faith in Jesus Christ; not through any material possession: years ago, I choose for my life verse Galatians 2:20 where it is written:

“20 My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

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