My mother-in-law was very generous with other people but frugal to a fault with herself. She was a serious minded young adult during the Great Depression. Thus she brought into her future, the modern age of materialism and waste, and into family view, a curious attitude toward gifts. Finding the right gift for her at Christmas, Mothers Day, and on her Birthday, was forever troublesome to me. I would worry worry worry over the perfect gift, find great delight in finally purchasing it, and then watch as she opened it, for any sign of joy and excitement.
Her reaction to my gifts was as predictable as the sunset. No matter what I’d purchased for her it was either the wrong kind of something, or something she didn’t feel she really needed, or, and this was the hardest of all, it was something too nice to use now. Most gifts were either returned or put on a shelf or under plastic, to be saved for a special occasion. One year for Christmas I searched and searched until I found a robe I thought she would enjoy. On a hanger, under plastic, and into the back of the closet it went. She said she would save it for a future hospital stay. And bless her heart, when she died it was still in the back of the closet.
In recent years I’ve become aware that I am not so different from my mother in law when it comes to accepting and using certain gifts. As crazy as it might seem, the gifts I seem to be most resistant to and suspicious of are the gifts sent from God. Instead of continually receiving them and putting them to good use today, I’m tempted with the thought that they’re just not quite right, not what I wanted or need at this time, or that they are so special perhaps I should store them away for another day.
I found a scripture that in the Doctrine and Covenants that helped me to see that one of the things Jesus was perfect at was receiving gifts (grace) from His Father. Being a perfect gift (grace) receiver was a very important part of fulfilling His mission.
Jesus did not return or reject even one of the gifts (grace) sent from Above. In Doctrine and Covenants 93:12-14 it says that Jesus accepted every gift sent by His Heavenly Father. “And I, John saw that He received not of the fullness at first, but received grace for grace.”
Next John tells us that the way he progressed toward all His Father would have Him receive (a fullness) was to act upon or use the gifts of God to fulfill His mission. “And He received not of the fullness at first but continued from grace to grace, until he received a fullness.” To “continue” is to “endure, to last, to persist.” Jesus was able to endured as He received and put to use gift after gift from His Father.
Jesus himself was the greatest example of receiving grace from His Father. We become more and more like Jesus Christ as we more consistently receive (accept) grace for grace and then continue from grace to grace (endure by acting upon the gifts received).
Recovery, healing, and progress are made possible in proportion to my willingness to receive and use the gifts the Lord chooses to send me today. The Lord doesn’t send “white elephants” and the Lord doesn’t send gifts that are so fragile or seasonal or special that they must sit in storage. He sends me the perfect gift. He sends me what is expedient, what I really need, when I need it. And written on all His packages, all His gracious gifts, are the words, “To Be Opened and Used Immediately!”
By Nannette W.
Posted Tuesday, May 5, 2009
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