Presents are the best things to receive! Anything from not paying for the toll that day to getting the coveted video game of the season, a gift still counts. The most cherished of these is an item tailor made for our tastes, something that we would have eventually obtained on our own, in our favorite color. Ever notice that flutter of excitement, outwardly expressed or not, once the item rests in our palms, the utter glee as finding favor in someone’s eyes? Whether it comes wrapped in gold foil wrap with a large red bow or recycled newspaper, the first question to be answered upon receipt is presented, “Can I accept?”Even if it is that once in a lifetime benefaction which fulfills the most distant of dreams, the decision to keep a gift is a case worth pondering. Accepting a remote control car means we are willing to invest in the batteries needed to upkeep the motor’s roar. Acquiring a donation may entail agreeing to make certain events come to pass, such as instituting a program or building a cause-based center. Receiving an engagement ring denotes the promise of marriage. Accepting a nomination and being subsequently named for an awardee may assume our participation at a ceremony to physically receive our honor.
So important is the weight of the act of ones generosity that we are taught when we are younger to outright refuse gifts unless we sincerely want them.In ministry, similarly, our spiritual gifts are given and their manifestation requires a specific response. In this season of epiphany, we observe the recognition of Jesus’ purpose in the world primarily as expressed through the accounts of his baptism. He had known since childhood the special purpose for his life and spent many years developing and preparing for that journey. It is when Jesus embraces the call on his life, publically participating in the ritual, that God activates the gift, confirming with is announcing his being “well-pleased” (Matthew 3:17). Jesus knew the implications and requirements and, even if a little hesitant, made himself fully available and committed to the role bestowed upon him.
Before we accept a gift, we consider the value and how it may possibly change our lives. The act of bearing responsibility is daunting, particularly when we know the parameters may cause us to endure some hardships. This may be difficult for those called to step out as a leader, however, the present shows the favor of the chosen. Know that we are anointed and appointed to our specific calls and purpose.
As 1 Corinthians 12:7, which reads, “To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good”, we are unique in the box we are to open, and our courage in accepting benefits far more than ourselves. They are a gift – let us embrace them and show the world what we are made of. Let us be willing to be the children with whom God is well-pleased.
Reverend Amina S. McIntyre
Christian Methodist Episcopal Church