We all receive gifts we don’t want. I received a flannel shirt several years ago, which at the time I thought to be the most heinous piece of clothing ever made. Strangely, I kept it and today it’s one of the favorite shirts I own. All that changed was my perception of the shirt in those few years, but it made a wholly undesirable gift into a prized possession. Silly as my example seems, let’s apply this to the gifts we receive daily from God. Many of God’s gifts, we shrug off as worthless until down the road we begin to understand their worth.
Abraham was an unwitting hero. We’re all familiar with God’s promising Abraham he’d become the “father of many nations” and how he eventually got tired of waiting, so he had a son with his wife’s personal servant. However, what we’re not familiar with is looking at this act as Abraham not being satisfied with the gift God had given him. Abraham in this single act conveyed that God’s gift wasn’t valuable enough and that he could go and exchange it for something more valuable that looked like the original gift given. Look where that’s gotten us.
David wanted more. I believe the story of King David and his taking Bathsheba as his wife is pretty well known also. David sleeps with Uriah’s (a great and honorable soldier in his army) wife Bathsheba who gets pregnant and David manipulates the situation to where he finally orchestrates Uriah’s death and David takes the now pregnant Bathsheba as his own wife. Once again, we see a man dissatisfied with all that God has given, so he gets himself another gift which he thinks of greater value than the rest. However, this gift is not and David only brings heartache and strife into his life and the lives involved, simply because God’s gifts weren’t good enough. At least, that’s what we deceive ourselves into thinking.
“And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived with her husband seven years from when she was a virgin, and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day. And coming up at that very hour she began to give thanks to God and to speak of him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem.” — Luke 2:36–38
Anna received well. By our standards, Anna lived an afflicted life. Her husband died seven years after they were married and rather than marry again, Anna chose to live as a widow. Not only that, but she moved to the temple and spent all the rest of her days worshiping God. She didn’t hurry off and remarry; instead, she was content with God’s gift. She was grateful for a gift that on the surface looks highly undesirable. But, her gratitude led her to seeing the Savior for whom she’d been waiting and praying decade after decade. Her ugly and seemingly worthless gift turned out to be an experience no one else could duplicate or take away from her. Her gift here really was eternity.
We receive many gifts that are undesirable at the time. However, we forget the greatest gift of all which was born as a helpless baby in a barn. That baby grew up to become the Savior of us all. What lies under the guise of that worthless gift? What value does that experience or promise truly carry with it? We’ll never know unless we give God a chance to show us. Remember, we all receive gifts we don’t want.