From Mark Olsen, Pastor of Chapel by the Sea, Lincoln City, Oregon
The following Scripture from the book of James hit my soul this week. James, as he describes the consistent nature of God, helped me to look beyond what I’ve been feeling (tired, frustrated and in pain from my recent knee operation) and see the generous acts of your giving through the perfect gift of God’s love.
“Every generous act of giving, with every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” (James 1:17)
God is consistent. God doesn’t have good and bad days. We are human, we are affected by what goes on around us. Our moods change with the seasons or a full moon. We are prone to be selfish, and self-absorbed. We get tired, bored, and anxious and act accordingly. When we are cold or hot, full or hungry, lonely or the life of the party, the way we react to world around us changes by the way we feel. God gave humans feelings that change by what is going on around them. We are not consistent with our gifts of love and yet God is. If feelings affect us in such a way how is it that we can ever live up to God’s desire for us to love others as we are loved? How can we share God’s love when we are not in the mood? How can we share God’s love when we’re cold or hungry? How can we share God’s love when we’re anxious, scared, or mad? Yet that is what we are asked to do.
Give generously and receive graciously that is what we are to do. Give to others your friendship when you feel like you have no friends. Give food when you are hungry. Give a blanket when you are cold. Give healing to those who are hurting. It is in our giving that we can share in the perfect gift from above. Yes, we are humans and our bodies will wear out. Yes, we are humans and we all have our moods. Yes, we are humans and we are tempted to be selfish. Yes, give the gift of love to others and participate in the consistent love of God. And yet we may not be able to give so how do we then share God’s love? Receive God’s perfect love with a grateful heart, that is what we do! When you feel like you can’t give then open yourself to receive from others the perfect gift of love.
Whether we give or receive it is to God that we must look and put our trust. So, I along with the rest of us must be willing to give God’s love when I can and be willing to receive God’s love when I can’t. We must not let our feelings get the best of us for feelings are temporary. Know that God’s love is consistent, having no variation or shadow due to change.
“Be of love more careful, than everything” (E. E. Commings)
In the grace and peace of our Lord, Jesus Christ,