Good Gifts!

This fall at Hoboken Grace, we have been working through a conversation about how God delights in us and that we can delight in Him. If I am honest, I hadn’t really thought about this idea even though I now see so many passages in scripture pointing clearly to this idea. 

Psalm 37:4 (NIV) – “Take delight in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.”

The series began to click for me last week as I used a grilling vegetable wok, which was a Christmas gift, for the first time. I know, you probably aren’t following this leap, but stick with me. 

I am a man of habits, tracing back to my time growing up working on a farm. Farming involves a lot of schedules, seasons, and keeping a routine. Naturally, I carried those habits forward in Hoboken, even though life looks different. I enjoy my schedule and my rhythms. I like routines and structure. Now, back to the grill wok. I had always grown up just grilling vegetables directly on the grates so when I received the gift, I politely said thank you to my parents, but then didn’t use it for 10 months. A gift specifically chosen by someone who knows me, a gift chosen because they thought it would bring delight in my life, sat in a cupboard. After using it once, I have now used it each week with new concoctions and it really does bring me joy! I couldn’t believe I had slept on something I now love for so long.

Thinking back about other gifts, I found this pattern. My wife Erin gave me an Apple Pencil on one occasion, and slippers on another. My mother-in-law gave me an Instant Pot and a Nutribullet. My sister gave me a set of hot sauces I had never heard of, but ended up being fantastic. Apparently, tools used for cooking are a real growth opportunity for me. In each circumstance, I let the gift sit around collecting dust because it was outside my routine or what I was used to. The people who know us best like to give us good gifts, even if we don’t ask for them. 

As I read through Scripture, a passage in Luke 11 really stood out to me, “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

Can you imagine a Father who wants to give you good gifts? Not just the gifts you ask for, but also what you really need and what deep down you really desire. 

I think about the gifts I missed from my Heavenly Father because they didn’t fit nicely in my plan, in my routine. God gave me the gift of deep friendships because I went to a Dinner Group, which just felt like more time out of my week. God changed my view of contentment as I gave more of what I had to Him. As I engage God on this journey, I find that He gives me what I need, when I need it. Not before, not after, but at the right moment –  like a great guide. When I use these gifts, I experience the joy of what God has for me and how much He loves me. God also experiences delight in seeing His child follow His will in our lives. 

As you follow your normal routine this week, listen for where God may be speaking to you outside of your normal routine. Pay attention to what He is communicating through reading Scripture. God is faithful and will be there with you even if it feels uncomfortable. 

Have a great week, and let me know how you see God moving as you engage this conversation or try something different. 

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