March 22, 2023 — Good Gifts

I saw Ricky approaching the table with our breakfast. He was holding his hand in front of Stan’s stack of blueberry pancakes because there was a lit candle sticking out of them. As he sat the plate in front of Stan, I joined him and Cook in singing, “Happy Birthday” to Stan. When we were finished singing, Ricky said to Stan, “The pancakes are our gift to you on your special day!”

“Thank you!” Stan said. “What a great gift!”

“Enjoy,” Ricky said before he left. Cook added, “If you want some more just let us know!”

“Will do,” Stan replied, as he poured on the pure maple syrup and got ready to thank the Lord for His provision of food and friends.

After Stan had taken a few bites of the pancakes, he said, “This is a fabulous gift. The best blueberry pancakes I’ve ever tasted! This reminds me of what Jesus said about good gifts.”

“What’s that?” I asked. “And please don’t tell me that Jesus talked about blueberry pancakes.”

“He didn’t.” Stan replied with a laugh. “But Jesus did talk about how a father knows about giving good gifts to his children, and how our heavenly Father knows much more about giving good gifts.”

“How so?”

“Let’s take a quick look at this,” Stan said. “The disciples had asked Jesus to teach them how to pray. At one point when Jesus was instructing them, He talked about how earthly fathers know how to give their children gifts.”

“In what way?” I asked.

“By a contrast,” Stan replied. “Jesus said that if a child asks his father for a fish, the father won’t give him a snake. Or if the child asks for an egg, that the father won’t give the child a scorpion.”

“What’s the point of that?” I asked.

“Jesus went on to point out that even though earthly fathers may know how to give good gifts to their children, the Father in heaven knows even more about giving good gifts to those who ask.”

“Did Jesus talk about any particular kind of good gift?”

“That’s an interesting question,” Stan replied. “In Matthew’s version of what Jesus said, there is no particular limitation. Jesus said that His Father knows what good gifts to give. But Luke has it a little different.”

“In what way?” I asked.

“Luke writes about the ‘good gift’ of the Holy Spirit, and he writes that the Father gives the good gift of the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him.”

“Wow!” I said. “Good gifts from the Father, including the Holy Spirit, to those who ask!”

“Indeed, my friend,” Stan replied. “Good gifts for the asking. I got these fabulous blueberry pancakes without even having to ask. Just think about what I, along with everyone else, can get by asking!”


Bible verses to consider:

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. John 3:16.

If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him. Luke 11:13.

If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him! Matthew 7:11.

You do not have because you do not ask. James 4:2.

Prayer: Thank you, Father, for the gift of salvation and redemption through the cross of Christ. Thank you, too, for all of your gifts that allow me to live this life with and for you, including the gift of the Holy Spirit. I confess that too often I do not ask for all that you have for me, and I do not claim the gifts you are willing to provide. Please forgive the foolishness of that. And please help me to follow every step of your lead in asking, receiving, and claiming all you have for me. Thank you that I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Think on this: Have you accepted the free and gracious gift of salvation and redemption through the finished work of Jesus’ cross? If no, why? If you are a Christian with the assurance of salvation and redemption, how are you doing with asking, receiving, and embracing all that God has for you? If you sense the need for change in any of that, how is it going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not?

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