This past week I have been in the Ukraine ministering to a group of pastors and ministers who came from different parts of Europe to immerse themselves under the teaching of the Word. Although I haven’t been to Europe in many years, when this invitation came something sparked on the inside, and I knew that God had provided this open door.
The last time I was in Ukraine was in the mid-1990’s, and I’ll never forget what happened. While there, the Lord impressed upon me to purchase each of the pastors who attended the conference a new suit to preach in, so I asked the leader where the best place in town was to buy a suit, and away we went. Some of those young ministers were literally speechless. It meant so much to them to be able to dress in a way that would bring honor to the Lord. And God used this to demonstrate His compelling love and care for each of them.
In the United States, it seems there is a Christian church on every street corner, and sometimes we take for granted the liberty and freedom we have to worship unashamedly from our hearts. We get busy with day-to-day business, forgetting what is going on in the rest of the world, but our Father never forgets about His children. Whether in the United States, China, Brazil, or Ukraine, His love was poured out for each of us through Jesus, and He desires for it to be manifested for each and every one of us.
James 1:17 says, Every good and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. God’s gifts are always good and perfect.
Many years ago, a friend showed me a ten-carat diamond. As I turned it, the colors of the rainbow were revealed, and because of its size, the more I studied it, the more I saw in it. The Lord spoke to me and said, “By studying and giving attention to My gifts, the more you will see in them.” When I think about where I am headed, I am reminded of the gifts that lie within the men and women attending the conference—people who have given their lives to ministry for the sake of the Gospel.
Consider the gift that was represented in the greatest evangelist of all time, the late Rev. Billy Graham. While the man wasn’t perfect, the gift inside the man was absolutely perfect, and these gifts are to be esteemed and highly regarded.
Proverbs 17:8 says, A gift is as a precious stone in the eyes of him that hath it: whithersoever it turneth, it prospereth. We see here a gift being called precious, which means to be of great value or price; highly esteemed. I don’t know about you, but I want to think more like God and act accordingly. If He calls something precious, then I want to treat it as such.
I have watched people miss the gift that God has placed before them by counting it a light thing and taking it for granted. Because of it they have been misled and become separated from that gift, which could have been the very thing God wanted to use to help them with. Someone once said, “You don’t always want to come to church where the Pastor always feeds you the berries and cream. You want someone who can shake you up now and then!” That’s so true. The shaking up is part of character building. It may not be fun to face up to things in your life that need correcting, but it’s necessary to fulfilling the plan of God for your life and therefore experiencing the abundant life.
There was a couple who left their estate to their children who then had a garage sale. One of the books contained some autographs and sold for $100. They came to find out that the parents had been collecting those autographs for over thirty years, and its current value was estimated somewhere in the neighborhood of one million dollars! How would you like to have been the man who bought the book and then discovered its true value? How would you like to have been the one who sold it?
The man who sold that valuable book for a hundred dollars sounded a lot like Esau, who sold his birthright for a mess of pottage. Later when he came to realize how precious and valuable it was, he couldn’t get it back. Thank God, if we walk in the Spirit we will not fulfill the lust of the flesh, and we can do just that by keeping our eyes on the gifts of God and esteeming them highly.
Second Corinthians 9:15 says, Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift. Regardless of how busy life gets at times, remember the gifts God has placed in your life through other people. And too, remember the gifts He has placed within YOU by esteeming them highly. Always find the place to give God thanks for the precious gifts He gives.