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God always gives good gifts, if we pay attention

By AL EARLEY

Religion columnist

This story has been around for many decades and was a favorite of “Dear Abby.” It is really more of a parable that makes us pause and consider things like what is important to us, how grateful are we, and do we notice all our blessings?

A young man was getting ready to graduate from college. For many months, he had admired a beautiful sports car in a dealer’s showroom, and knowing his father could well afford it, he told him that was all he wanted. As graduation day approached, the young man awaited signs that his father had purchased the car. Finally, on the morning of his graduation, his father called him into his private study. His father told him how proud he was to have such a fine son and told him how much he loved him. He handed his son a beautifully wrapped gift box.

Curious, and somewhat disappointed, the young man opened the box and found a lovely, leather-bound Bible, with the young man’s name embossed in gold. Angry, he rose his voice to his father and said, “with all your money, you give me a Bible?” and stormed out of the house.

Many years passed, and the young man was very successful in business. He had a beautiful home and wonderful family, but realized his father was very old, and thought perhaps he should go to him. He had not seen him since that graduation day.

Before he could make arrangements, he received a telegram telling him his father had passed away and willed all of his possessions to his son. He needed to come home immediately and take care of things. When he arrived at his father’s house, sudden sadness and regret filled his heart. He began to search through his father’s important papers and saw the still gift-wrapped Bible, just as he had left it years ago. With tears, he opened the Bible and began to turn the pages. His father had carefully underlined a verse, Matthew 7:11, “If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”

As he read those words, a car key dropped from the back of the Bible. It had a tag with the dealer’s name, the same dealer who had the sports car he had desired. On the tag was the date of his graduation, and the words PAID IN FULL.

The scripture text from Matthew is from Jesus’ teaching on God’s desire to take care of and provide for us. The more famous verse from this teaching is Matthew 7:7, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”

Have you ever had a time in your life when things were going badly, and you were doubting God’s goodness? Perhaps you wondered, “Why me?” or some other thought because you felt God had abandoned you. Jesus wants us to know God is always good, always gives good gifts, and this aspect of God’s character never changes. If we are uncertain of God’s goodness we need to look deeper into our situation to find out what God is trying to do to make us better.

We know God is always good because he sacrificed his son for our sins, so we could be forgiven of all sin, and have the victory over sin, death and evil. Like the father in the story, God has looked at our sin account and stamped it, “PAID IN FULL.” God desires to give us perfect gifts all the time in our lives. Not necessarily what we want, but always what we need most to grow in faith and grow closer to him.

Are you or have you ever struggled believing that God is always good and always gives you good gifts? How many times do we miss God’s blessings because we can’t see past our own desires? Under what circumstances might you discount a gift like the boy in the story did? How grateful are you for every gift you receive?

To find out more about Al Earley or read previous articles, visit www.lagrangepres.com.