An African boy listened carefully as his teacher explained why Christians were such giving people. The teacher said, “Jesus taught us that giving gifts is an expression of our love and friendship for Him and each other.” Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive’" (Acts 20:35).
A couple of days went by; the boy brought the teacher a seashell of lustrous beauty. “Where did you ever find such a beautiful shell?” the teacher asked. The youth told her that there was only one spot where such extraordinary shells could be found. When he named the place, a certain bay several miles away, the teacher was left speechless. She knew that it would have taken the young African boy hours to walk to the bay which he would have faced many dangers from the jungle and rocky cliffs of the sea coast. “Why…why, it’s gorgeous…wonderful, but you shouldn’t have gone all that way to get the gift for me,” the teacher joyfully exclaimed.
His eyes brightening, the boy answered, “Long walk part of gift.” (Story adopted from Preaching Vol. 23, No. 3, p. 88. 2007).
This story brings to mind the long walk that was part of God’s gift to mankind. In 1 Peter 1:20-21 it states, “He [Jesus] was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.”
Christ was foreknown before the creation of the world, where His long walk began proclaimed by the prophets of the Old Testament; He then voyaged from heaven to earth, to born of a virgin and grew up to show people the way of Heaven, He walked upon the earth and then went to a shameful cross to pay humans’ debt of sin, journeyed from the cross to the tomb, then resurrected on the third day and went back to Heaven, all of this the gift of God.
Heb 4:15-16 reminds us that the long walk was part of the gift by saying, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
And we may ask, “Why all this trouble, God?” And God would say to us, “Long walk part of the gift.”
Written by Mark T. Tonkery
Evangelist for the
Little Hocking, OH
Church of Christ
Story and idea adopted from Preaching Vol. 23, No. 3, p. 88. 2007.