Here’s the 4th installment of an open letter to my son:
Again, the question is are you blinded by thinking that everyone has to have equal opportunity, ability, and reward? Or do you see God as a God of love who does what each person needs: Helps them to know Him?
The 4th gift is wrapped up in the other three and yet also wraps them up in a complete package. It comes out of 1 Corinthians 12:31, “But earnestly desire the greater gifts. And I will show you a still more excellent way.” Paul is saying to the Corinthians that it is good to desire to do wonderful things for God and yet there is something better and more fundamental than them all. He goes on to explain that the more excellent way is love – desiring the best for others. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 reads,
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
This is the heart of God’s giving us Jesus at Christmas. Jesus is the best gift God could give us and the most costly. He gave it to us for our best and to help us realize how great He is – which actually is the best thing that can happen to us. Therefore, when someone else gets something you think you want, realize God has given you the best gift of all. Why would he withhold something else from you unless it was for your best right now? Trying to demand that everyone have equal opportunity, ability and reward means that you hold God to your standards and your ways of doing things rather than letting Him determine what is best.
Second, when I demand that I receive equal opportunity, ability, and reward as others then I’m not showing other’s love and seeking their best. I’m evidencing a selfish attitude that wants the world to only go as I as me or that I would show go as high as them. That’s not putting God first. He’s the one who showed the greatest gift of love and I should 1) treat God as loving and change my mind about what God is doing, 2) realize that Christ took my sinful, demanding attitude and paid for it, and 3) rejoice in the love God is showing to others. Only then can I rejoice in the love God has given me adequately.
God throws you curve balls to help you realize how much he loves you. He loves you enough that Christ died for you. Let us therefore love Him by loving others and rejoice in the opportunities and abilities God gives us to know Him better and revel in the rewards we get to give back to Him for all He has done for us.