Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.–James 1:17 NKJV
I am convinced that one of the greatest secrets to outstanding relationships is treating others like they are God’s gifts to us. We must receive them as such when they come into our lives, and we must regularly remind ourselves of this fact. Let me give a few examples.
John 3:16 says that God loved every single one of us so much that He gave His only Son so that we could have eternal life rather than perish. God’s number one gift is His Son! Worship is in part a remembrance of and response to the wonder of God the Father and God the Son. When we worship we keep the value of the Gift at the forefront of our mind. If we take this value for granted, our relationship with the Gift will diminish.
The Holy Spirit
Luke 11:13 says our heavenly Father gives the Holy Spirit to those who ask. What a gift! Someone to help us walk in victory, make decisions from the heart of God, and be a bold witness! The more we treasure this gift and relationship, the more we become like Christ and accomplish everything God wants us to do.
In Genesis 2 Adam received Eve from God with such joy that he wrote the world’s first poem or love song. Since this was before the fall, this husband and wife’s heart must have been closer to each other than any who have ever followed! Yet only one chapter later while looking to dodge the responsibility for his sin, Adam blamed “the woman you gave me.” Suddenly Eve and God were the problem. How many marriage relationships have suffered since then because one the partners decided God’s gift to them was the source of all their problems?
Children are a gift and a responsibility. When they come into our lives we are overwhelmed by how precious they are and the scope of the job in front of us to parent them. Before too much time passes though, they can do things that make us forget how special they are for a moment. The temptation, as with all other relationships, is to view them as more trouble than gift — liability instead of asset.
Ephesians 4:11 specifically lists pastor as a gift Christ gives to His church. Churches and pastors often feel this gift of mutual respect and appreciation at the beginning. We call this the honeymoon period. In John 17:6 Jesus acknowledged that the Father had given Him His disciples. Ministers do well to view their parishioners as gifts as well! Sometimes the new wears off of the love though, and pastors and churches find themselves wanting a separation. How much better if churches would thank God for the gift of their pastor more often, and pastors would thank God for their people?
When we start thinking this way, we thank God for many people in our lives and our relationships move forward. If we are employed, how about our boss? (And not just on payday.) Neighbors? Friends? Even enemies can serve a wonderful purpose in our lives.
Why don’t we put this to the test? Let’s select someone in our lives with whom our relationship is less than it should be. Let’s faithfully thank God each day for a week for the treasure that this person is in our lives. At the end of the week, let’s see if we view this person in a new way. And let’s enjoy the fruit that comes from deepening and strengthening our relationships!