What is the greatest gift?
This question has been debated for centuries. But if we were to look a little closer at God's word, and his life here on earth I think that we would know exactly what the greatest gift is.
There are truly many great gifts on this earth. Is it life? Or maybe mercy. What about compassion? If we look at the root of all of these great and powerful gifts, then I think that we would find one thing linking them all together. LOVE
"And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity."
2 Corinthians 13:13
This is truly the greatest gift that God ever gave to mankind! He loved us even before he ever created us. He gave us life because he loves us! He gave us mercy and forgiveness because he loves us. Everything that is wonderful and hard and worth living and dying for is because of Love!
Something that will keep us from understanding this though, is our destroyed vision of what love is. I'm not just talking about the beautiful love between a man and a woman. I'm talking about that precious love between a father and his children, a mother and her children, between siblings, grandparents and grandchildren, and between friends. There are many different types of love and each one of them is a beautiful gift of God!
Why have we let this world tarnish such a precious and beautiful gift that God himself not only gave but demonstrated to us? Sometimes we don't even realize how much we really love someone until we face one of the many storms of life. It doesn't matter what form it takes storms are storms. Yes there are many different types of storms! Some seem harder to bear than others but they are all storms.
Why do we allow ourselves to get so wrapped up in the world, in ourselves, and in frivolous things instead of enjoying each and every moment that we have with those that we love so dearly? When we stop taking an interest in those that we love then we often aren't prepared when God allows a struggle to test our love. This doesn't mean that you should always expect the worst to happen. It simply means that when a trial does come your way your love should be so anchored in God that you can face whatever lies ahead. This goes for family members, and even close friends. Do you have a true love for those around you that is founded on the love that God has given you, or do you simply love them waiting for something in return? Love is a gift. A gift is something that is given without expecting anything in return.
A love that is founded on selfish reasons will never last! This is one of the reasons for so many divorces in the world today, and so many family members and friends that are allowing bitterness to drive them further apart. They haven't loved with a selfless love, they have loved expecting something in return allowing themselves to be self consumed and were not prepared to face the storms that everyday life often brings.
I think that William Shakespeare put it well when he wrote the 116th sonnet in Shakespeare's Sonnets.
Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O, no! It is an ever fixed mark,
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wondering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and wicks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me prov'd,
I never writ and no man ever lov'd
I know that he is referring to the love between a man and a woman but I think that this is true for all forms of love. That no matter what happens nothing can shake or remove your true love for those around you. This doesn't mean that it is going to be easy! Lets just face it. We are part of a fallen human race. Some things are going to be harder to bear because you do love them. But do not give up loving simply because you may face a few hard times.
Take this wonderful gift and give it to those around you. Give it because God gave it to you. Because He loves.
God truly gave us the most perfect picture of love!
"8. But God commendeth His love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.
9. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him."