Summary: Could you imagine how desirable is the gift of the Richest and Most Generous Owner of all things? Could you really afford to reject it?
“All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions -- it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith -- and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God -- not by works, so that no one can boast” (Eph. 2:3-9, NIV).
The “gift of God”!
But, before we talk about His gift, may I ask those who knew the king of the “rock-n-roll” -- Elvis Presley: Did he really give Rolls Royce to his close friends?! Was it really true he found joy and satisfaction in seeing them as their eyes bulging with great delight and appreciation, when he handed the key of the car?
But how about the Richest and Most Generous Owner of all things, could you imagine the gift He gave?
Could He also give a “gift” that will greatly attract our attention and interest -- filling our hearts with great delight and overflowing appreciation?
And could we afford to reject or refuse His gift?
Just how God described His gift? What is really His gift that should fill our hearts with greater joy?
First, let us read Eccl. 3:9-14: “What does the worker gain from his toil? I have seen the burden God has laid on men. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil -- this is the GIFT OF GOD. I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that men will revere him” (NIV).
Notice the words in verse 13: “find satisfaction…” To find satisfaction in what you do – not just what you are doing -- is the gift of God.
Also we read in Eccl. 5:18-20: “Then I realized that it is good and proper for a man to eat and drink, and to find satisfaction in his toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of life God has given him -- for this is his lot. Moreover, when God gives any man wealth and possessions, and enables him to enjoy them, to accept his lot and be happy in his work -- this is a GIFT OF GOD. He seldom reflects on the days of his life, because God keeps him occupied with gladness of heart” (NIV).
Now, consider the words: “…when God gives any man wealth and possessions, and enables him to enjoy them, to accept his lot and be happy in his work -- this is a gift of God.” We can have wealth, possessions and employment, but we can be UNhappy! God enables us to find joy and happiness in our wealth or work! That’s His gift.
This joy is not based on our material wealth or physical accomplishment, but in the Holy Spirit. We read in Romans 14:17, “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and JOY IN THE HOLY SPIRIT” (NIV).
Though the circumstance that surrounds you will warrant grief or fear in your hearts, the Presence of the Holy Spirit can fill “your hearts with joy" (Acts 14:17).
What happened to the believers in Acts portrayed it. “The word of the Lord spread through the whole region. But the Jews incited the God-fearing women of high standing and the leading men of the city. They stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them from their region. So they shook the dust from their feet in protest against them and went to Iconium. And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 13:49-52, NIV).
They Jews “stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them from their region,” yet “the disciples were filled with joy.”
David acknowledged it:
“You will make known to me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
In Your right hand there are pleasures forever” (Ps 16:11, NASU).