博士. Al Hearne II
本周, we shift our focus from God being good in Mark to "every good and perfect gift" in the book of James.
James 1:17-18 "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. Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.”(ESV).
Have you ever noticed that some people have a knack for selecting the right gift for someone else? For example, my Uncle Stan is a master at choosing gifts. Each Christmas growing up, Uncle Stan knew exactly what gift to choose for me. His gift was always perfect in human terms; it was always my favorite. Yet, as good as Uncle Stan was, he does not measure up to the good and perfect gifts provided by God.
James declares, "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." Only here is God called the "Father of lights." It is a fitting name for two reasons: first, God is our Father; second, God created light out of nothing. In addition, James notes an essential aspect of God's character: it is unchangeable. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Anything that is good and perfect in our life comes from our "Father in lights."
As I reflect on what is good and perfect in my life, three things come to mind: salvation, 家庭, and calling. These three are intertwined with Ephesians 2:8 and 10, "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them."
Our "Father of lights," through his grace, created the gift of salvation by faith alone in Christ Jesus. There is nothing I can do to earn my salvation. It is genuinely a good and perfect gift because it is freely given to those who believe. I am God's workmanship; I bear God's divine fingerprints upon my soul. God uniquely created me to be me and prepared good works for me to walk in! As a husband and father, God has called me to lead my 家庭; God has blessed me with a loving, talented wife, and together we are raising three amazing, 好奇的, active sons. God has called me to lead Redwood Christian Schools as a part of my vocation. I am charged with stewarding the Christ-centered education of over 650 students. I serve alongside fellow believers each day at school. None of this is by accident; it is what my "Father in lights" prepared for me.
James does not stop with his magnificent description of God; he ends verse 18 with a call to action, "that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures." Throughout the Bible, firstfruits are the literal first of production (plants, 动物, or work) and, more importantly, a sacrificial offering to God. James is here calling believers to live their lives as a sacrificial offering to God in loving obedience to the good and perfect gifts that God has given.
Take a moment to reflect on what is good and perfect in your life. What gifts has God given you? What has God blessed you with? What has God prepared for you to do? In what ways are you living as a sacrificial offer to God?