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Monday, June 01, 2015
The Gift Refused - Eleanor Shepherd
someone who was rich, with youth on his side and a responsible position in
society refuse to accept the greatest gift He could ever be offered? That was
the case for the rich young ruler, whose story is recorded in the Gospels.He came to Jesus and asked what he had to do
to inherit eternal life (Mark 10: 17 – 30).What he failed to understand is that the demands of God are rooted in
His love for us.By turning away, when
Jesus told him to sell everything and give to the poor he failed to grasp the
full implications of God’s love for him.Even though he was rich and he was young and he was a ruler and he
wanted to have eternal life, he lost out, because he refused to accept the
greatest gift – God’s unconditional love that could transform his life.
British mathematician and philosopher Bertrand Russell was applauded as one of
the world’s profound thinkers.This winner
of a Nobel prize, having been raised as a Christian, later made choices in his
life that were inconsistent with his faith and ended up claiming to be an
atheist.He wrote an essay entitled, Why I Am Not a Christian.
daughter, Catherine Tait, who with her husband became a Christian, wrote a
biography of her father, whom she loved and respected.In this biography, she said, ‘‘I believe myself that his whole life was
a search for God, or, for those who prefer less personal terms, for absolute
certainty…Somewhere at the back of my father’s mind, at the bottom of his
heart, in the depths of his soul, there was an empty space that had once been
filled by God, and he never found anything else to put in it…’’
Sometimes we resemble the rich
young ruler.Confronted with the choice
to commit and obey, we turn away.When
we become aware that all that God demands of us is centred in His love for us,
our choice can be to accept that love and trust Him, although we may have to
give up what we most value.
we led The Salvation Army in France, God gave me a vision that I have never
forgotten. In my vision, I saw God holding out to The French Salvation Army, a
huge box wrapped in shiny gold paper.Around the box was a large gold ribbon tied in a beautiful bow on top. I
saw this gift as symbolic of His love. Then my gaze turned from this exquisite
gift, and I saw the Salvationists of France.Instead of looking up at the beautiful gift in anticipation, they were
hunched over looking at the ground, burdened down by arms full of old clothes
and piles of papers.They could not
receive the gift being offered them because they were focused on the burdens
they were carrying.At that moment, I was
reminded again we must make our choice to respond to God’s demands and let go
of the things we trust in order to receive His unconditional and all sufficient
love for us.