Gifts are given on occasions and sometimes just because. For most of us the wrappings are just as important as the content. Pretty papers, bags and bows, oh my! Yes because that’s the first thing that is seen and we want it to be appealing. Ever wonder why so much work on the appearance when the worth is actually on the content? Now I have to admit and I am sure you have as well, experienced the opposite where the outside was a lot more appealing than the inside.
For this case in point, I have to wonder if our intent is to appeal to the senses in hopes of it being chosen or accepted. You know we all want our gifts to be favored, but what happens when it is opened and it is found to have been finely wrapped but empty. What a let down, huh? That brings me to this week’s blog post, “The Rejected Gift.”
I have vowed to share my plight in hopes that it will help someone. We have all at one point been rejected, but no one wants to ever be rejected. Some time ago I was invited to bring a word. It was my first time at this church as a messenger as well as a visitor. When I arrived, they immediately thought I was a visitor. They greeted me outside and asked if I was visiting with the guess speaker; I smiled and said, “I am the guest speaker.” Oh the stare I was given with a slight smile.
After being escorted into the waiting room, I received more of the same. I was met with a lot of apprehensions. The leader was uncertain but I was quite confident.
As I sat there praying through the service prior to getting up, I saw so much. All I had seen led me to think back on Jesus when He came and how He was rejected despite all He had done. The people during His time couldn’t phantom Jesus, the long-awaited Messiah being born to a common peasant girl and a carpenter dad; No way would the Messiah come out of Nazareth, no way! I would say they were caught up in the presentation and how He came.
During the service the Holy Spirit dropped little nuggets in my spirit to encourage and enlighten me. At one point I paused and thought about when the centurions and the others that surrounded Jesus exclaimed, “truly this was the son of God.” I almost went up in praise, when still voice whispered in my spirit and said, “it was not until He surrendered to complete the will of God that they realized who He was.” I almost leaped out of my seat.
That connect with my spirit in such a way; it was then that I realized in order for me to rise above the force that was in the place, I had to surrender and allow Him to reign in me like never before. I had an, “it was finished” moment. If it was a tiny thought of conforming and appeasing people, it was over. I was paralyzed in the moment. I had no control. God had, had His perfect will. I was taught the order of presenting a message but let me just say once again, He had His way in me.
Days later when I thought back on that day and all that had transpired, I was a bit perplexed because I couldn’t understand. I was wearing a dark gray dress that fell somewhere between my calf and my ankle, so it could not have been that. At that time my hair was short and natural, so it could not have been that. My jewelry was little to none so let’s cross that off. I wore my nails short, polished and manicured so let’s scratch that too. I was wearing black pumps so it could not have been that because I needed shoes. After undressing myself from head to toe, I still couldn’t understand their behavior.
As time passed my good friend who invited me and who was not there when I arrived at the church; shared this with me:
Lennie your hair style was fine but it is bleached. Your dress was beautiful and unrevealing but it was little too stylious.You hardly wore jewelry but you were wearing two earrings even though they were small studs. You probably noticed most of them wear kitten heels or flats so when you showed up in a four-inch heel they just could not get with it. Oh and the female ministers and missionaries are required to wear hats or small scarves on their heads, at all times.
By this time I was numb. I had no words or emotions. God had given me such a peace. I smiled and thanked her for the invitation. She was surprised because she expected me to be offended and honestly I was surprised at how I handled it.
The pastor called me weeks later and apologized. He did not give a reason for his apology and I didn’t ask. He shared how the word had blessed him and he extended the invitation to me to speak at their women’s weekend retreat. Talk about judging a book by its cover.
Take notice of this gift below, not very appealing? I probably would say, “what ever was that person thinking!” I would not have used red because I am not fond of red and if I had, I would have probably used a white bow. I would have allow for more paper so the edges would fold neatly. I would not have folded the edges towards the top. I would never do it that way, not me! There is a few other things I would probably change based on how I think it should be.
Ok let’s conclude that “I” know how a gift should be wrapped from the color to the trimmings. My way is the way, and well, any other way is just not right. As it is in the natural, so it is in the spirit. I believe we have become accustom to appreciating God’s gifts based on what we can see in the natural as well. If the outside looks like what we are accustomed to, it has to be “the gift.”
How many of us would overlook this gift based on the outward appearance, if we had to choose? Yes most of us probably would but once again the value is not on the wrappings. It is on the content.
This is so fitting for this season. A time of celebrating our savior’s birth. Our savior who was rejected. Our savior who was “the gift.” The gift that they wanted and looked for but because of how He came, they rejected Him. They had their own take on how He should have come.
They were looking for something that they had with them all along but because of how He was presented, they did not receive Him. How He came didn’t lessen His abilities to suffer, die and rise for humanity. He fulfilled His purpose even though He was birthed by a common girl. His father was a carpenter. He was born in a manger. He came out of Nazareth. How they perceived Him did not take away from His ability to fulfil His purpose.
A gift’s purpose is in the content not on the wrappings. The wrappings only adds beauty but it doesn’t add anything to its purpose. The content is, what it is, with or without the covering.
God is still presenting gifts today but are we still behaving as the people of Jesus’ time on earth? Are we rejecting His gifts because we cannot see past what our eyes are seeing and our intellects?
Be encouraged and know that He was rejected first, but He pursued in purpose and we must do the same.Luke 10: 16 tells, “He that heareth you heareth me; and he that rejecteth you rejecteth me; and he that rejecteth me rejecteth him that sent me.” It is like a wearing an ugly dress. Some may say it is ugly but it doesn’t take away from you; the value and purpose is in you. The dress is just a covering. You are more than what’s covering you. When they reject you because of what their natural eyes are seeing, they are really losing out on the value. When they reject you because of where you came from, they are missing out on the value. Your value and purpose is not in where you came from. You were purposed before you were conceived in our mother’s womb. Your value cannot be seen through the natural eyes.
Remember, do not get caught up in the bearers of gift and miss out on the gifts.
I leave these verses for you as well as a reminder:
For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.” Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?” 1 Corinthians 19-20 (OUR INTELLECT AND WHAT WE THINK, HOW WE SEE IT)
My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the LORD. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts. Isiah 55:8-9 (STOP THINKING YOU KNOW HOW HE IS GOING TO DO IT-WE HAVE BECOME TOO FAMILIAR WITH GOD, JUST BECAUSE HE DID IT THAT WAY TEN TIMES DOES NOT MEAN HE WILL ALWAYS DO IT THAT WAY)
Corinthians 4:18 asserts “while we look not at the things that are seen, but at the things that are not seen; for the things that are seen [are] for a time, but those that are not seen eternal.