By Pastor Linda Bynum (Family Pastor)
I was asked to write about my greatest gift and, without hesitation, my husband is my greatest earthly treasure. When you have been blessed with so many wonderful relationships and the special tokens of remembrance from them, it is difficult to label something as my best gift. At the risk of sounding like I am offering the Sunday School answer (Jesus), here is my response.
My greatest gift is the Spirit of God and His fruit of faith. Now before you groan too loudly, let me explain. From the time I first came to Jesus, I had others telling me I was into something weird. I vividly remember saying to the Lord that this relationship seems so real to me; what do they mean? God confirmed His love and desire for me to walk life’s journey with Him in very tangible ways that a 14-year-old could understand.
Fast forwarding through the years, there were many outstanding and joyful experiences. There were several times that it was only knowing God walked with me through the “valley of the shadow of death” that gave me the courage and resolve to keep walking. Always God has been faithful and shown Himself as the One who redeems, heals, restores, makes new and brings purpose and meaning to life. I have found there is no valley too dark or too deep that God does not carry me through. The Spirit reminds me that this too shall pass. Part of that gift is the Divine appointments that allow me to be present with and reassure another in the valley that they are being held in the very arms of God.
Can you imagine the young woman, who was probably not as old as I was when I met Jesus, having an angel appear before her with life-altering news? Young Mary was a virgin and engaged to be married to her love, Joseph. The angel Gabriel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end” (Luke 1:30-33).
Mary asks a couple of how questions, but her gift of faith is demonstrated in this response, “May it be to me as you have said” (1:38).
She does not question what others would say or what Joseph would do. She did not obsess about undisclosed details. She receives a word from God and becomes the vessel through which the Kingdom of God comes to earth. She stood humble and willing.
How are you standing? Have you welcomed the Gift of the Spirit and the fruit of faith that comes with that relationship? Mary submitted, in faith believing. If we are also willing, like Mary, to submit in faith believing God, who knows what the gift of the Holy Spirit will bring to our world. It could be the Advent of something truly amazing.