By David R. Ferguson
For as long as I can remember I have always loved baseball, and one of my fondest memories as a very small child was begging my Mom to go outside and pitch to me. And more often than not, she would stop what she was doing and pitch that ball to me for hours on end, and I would hit it with a borrowed bat that belonged to my older brothers. So you can imagine what joy I felt when I turned seven years old way back in 1968, and I received my first brand new baseball bat, glove and ball to call my very own. Not only that, my older brother Lonnie gave me a birthday present of my very own transistor radio so I could listen to my favorite baseball team, the St. Louis Cardinals, on KMOX. For a boy of seven, that birthday seemed to be just the best birthday ever. I thought that baseball, bat, glove and radio were just the best and most perfect gifts any boy could ever receive.
James, the Lord’s brother, knew of good and perfect gifts, too, when he wrote in James 1:17 [NAS], “Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.” Jesus Christ is the greatest gift ever bestowed upon mankind, and Jesus explains in John 3:16 [NAS] why God gave us such a wondrous gift: He did it because He loves us and He wishes to save us from our sins. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” The gift of eternal life is there for our taking if we will simply give our lives to God and come to Him in obedient, saving faith.
So what had seemed to be the most perfect gifts to a seven year old boy fail when it comes to those everlasting gifts that come from God. That ball, bat, glove and radio are long gone now, having perished with the passage of time through the ensuing decades. But in one sense they still are, and will forever remain, perfect gifts. They are perfect for they were given from a source of love, the love of a family given to a small child. God’s word tells us that He is the Source from which all love emanates for God Himself is love (1 John 4:7-8).
- David R. Ferguson preaches for the Lakeland Church of Christ in Mattoon, IL. He may be contacted through the congregation's website.