Growing up, my dad traveled a lot for work. In the early days of his career, he mainly traveled by car. The cost of flying kept it out of reach for most people. Sometimes dad would plan a trip during the summer so the whole family could tag along. When we lived in Canada, one of his excursions took us the entire way across the country. The journey gave me a love of travel and was a good gift for me.
When we moved to the USA, his travels continued and still included the family when possible. We lived in Michigan, and one of his regular stops incorporated Pittsburg, PA. I remember one trip, in particular when I was about 15 years old. The time came for the whole family to go to Pittsburg with dad. Mom would take my brother, and I sightseeing as dad worked. Then, each evening we would dine together and maybe go for a walk around the area. On Saturday, dad toured around with all of us.
The Good Gift
As his work day wound down, my dad announced he had found somewhere special to take us. So when he got back to the hotel, we headed out for a walk up a hilly street. Mom and I window shopped as we walked along. Money was tight for us, so I learned the enjoyment of window shopping. As we walked past one shop, I stopped and gawked. On a mannequin hung the most beautiful baby blue corduroy jacket I had ever seen. My parents walked on, but I remained glued to the window. Once he realized I had stopped, dad walked back to see what help my attention. I showed him the coat and then started to walk to catch up with everyone else.
My dad called me back over to the window and asked if I wanted to try on the coat. I knew money was tight, so I smiled and told him it was okay. But, he grabbed my arm and dragged into the shop. Next thing I knew, I stood in front of a mirror wearing the coat. My pulse quickened as I turned to admire my reflection. Then I heard my dad tell the lady we would take it. I held my breath in anticipation. As I walked out the door, I skipped over to my dad and hugged him tightly. We continued on our way, and I soon found myself enjoying an ice cream cone to top off my already wonderful day.
I kept that jacket for years. I included a picture of me wearing it, but please don’t laugh when you look at it. It was a long time ago.
My dad loved to surprise us with special gifts. But the memory of that day helps me think about another gift giver. My father is gone now, but I have my Heavenly Father, who also likes to give me gifts. Just like my earthly dad, God delights in presenting us with special presents. Let’s turn to the Bible to learn about some of these gifts God gives to His children.
- James 1:17 ESV; “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.”
- Romans 6:23 ESV; “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
- Ephesians 2:8 ESV; “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,”
- John 3:16 ESV; “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
Which One is Better?
The gift from my dad eventually wore out and went in the trash. But, God’s gifts last forever and provide us with eternal life. I am also reminded of verses from Matthew 7; “9 Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 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!” And, the memory of this story from my childhood helps to reinforce these verses for me. I hope they help you too.
Dearest Heavenly Father, thank you for the gifts you give to us even when we don’t deserve them. Help those who did not have good earthly fathers as an example to understand Your love for us. Forgive us when we take Your gifts for granted. Teach us to follow Your example with our children. Let us be more like You in every aspect of our lives. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Yvonne M. Morgan, author, blogger, and speaker.
Matthew 28:19 “Therefore, GO and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.”
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