The Gift That Keeps Giving
by Rev. J. Loren Russell, BA, MDiv.
James 1:17 (KJV)
17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights.”
I recently celebrated another birthday that happened to fall on Mother’s Day this year. I don’t know about you, but I’ve noticed that the gifts get fewer and fewer as the years go by. But I also noticed that, because of technology, I received more well-wishes, birthday greetings and likes than ever before. I counted well over 500 between Facebook and LinkedIn alone. In fact, I am still getting belated blessings and well-wishes even though an entire week has passed since my birthday.
Although those kind words, gestures, and emogies were fun to read and to view, and despite the fact that I can re-read them from time to time, they are not everlasting. They are nice and I appreciate every one of them, but they will soon fade away. On my next birthday, like everybody else, I’ll be looking for more of the same. But there is a gift and there is a giver whose gifts never fade and He never runs out of gifts to give.
The scripture text is taken from the most practical book in the New Testament, the book of James. This writer, who most believe to be the brother of Jesus Himself, writes as a pastor to give instruction and encouragement to those who were of the Twelve Tribes of Israel who had broken away from the Jewish faith and formed the Jerusalem church. They had been persecuted and scattered throughout the nations of that time. He starts his letter by telling them to count it all joy when they face trials and tribulations because those trials and those tribulations produce perseverance. From my own personal experience and those of so many others, I can tell you that perseverance outdoes intelligence, strength, money and almost any other asset when it comes to the maturation process. It is the vital ingredient in the process we call success. James tells his readers that those who persevere will inherit eternal life. But James is referring to perseverance of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ who will deliver them from both persecution and trails. Choosing to persevere, James says, leads to the gift of eternal life. There it is! The gift that keeps on giving!
It is the Father of lights who gives this gift. It cannot come from anyone, anywhere, or anything else. Once given, it never has to be renewed, nor does it have to be repeated year after year like a birthday greeting. He gives you this gift and it leads to eternal life. That means that it is everlasting and forever. Just think for a moment; everything that we know is temporal and limited by time and space. We can’t even wrap our minds around the concept of eternity. What the Father gives to us will never, ever end. So the encouragement of James to persevere is more meaningful than we may have ever considered. If we persevere, if we don’t quite, if we persist and keep the faith, we will inherit eternal, everlasting, forever life…, the gift that keeps on giving!
God Bless +++
Rev. J. Loren Russell, BS, MDiv is President/CEO of The JLR Company, and an associate minister at both Goodwill and Greater Universal Baptist Churches in the Bronx and hosts “Matters of Faith – The Radio Show” on Soul 1 Radio (internet), Mondays 8:00 – 10:00 PM. http://tobtr.com/s/7436671, or by phone at 626-226-1448. Note: You don’t have to talk, but you can access the show by calling in.