The Norman Transcript

Religion

June 5, 2014

Gifts that keep on giving

NORMAN — The Apostle Paul wrote a letter to a young pastor named Timothy and gave him insight into how to prioritize his ministerial duties.

In 1 Timothy 2:1, we read, “I exhort therefore, that First of All, supplications, prayers, intercessions and Giving of Thanks, be made for all men.”

I looked up the word “all” in Greek (the language in which it was written) and discovered that it means ... all. That includes any and everything. When Paul said “first of all,” be meant before anything else you do, do this first. Do what? Pray and give thanks for all men.

Thanks for all men? The nice and the not-so-nice? The ones I like and the ones I don’t like? Well, if all means all, then that must include everyone.

If Paul were writing to a church at Norman, he would be saying give thanks for the rich and the poor, the young, the old and, yes, the teenagers. Give thanks for the educated and the uneducated, the prominent and the obscure, the nice and not-so-nice, and the ones that love OU and those that love OSU. Give thanks for those who drive Chevys and those who drive Mercedes, thanks for the Democrats and Republicans and thanks for the generous and the stingy.

Why would God have the church be thankful for people? Of all things to be grateful for, why people? Because God sees people as precious gifts, given by Him to render blessings to us all. Each person is a gift, waiting to be discovered — waiting to be received and enjoyed — a gift from God to whom we give thanks.

Jesus was the greatest gift of all. Paul described him as an unspeakable gift. A precious, indescribable, inexpressible, free gift. Peter referred to the Holy Spirit as another gift sent from God. In Paul’s letter to the church as Ephesus he writes, “And Jesus gave ministry gifts unto men — some apostles; and some evangelists; and some pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry and edifying of Christ’s body the church.” The book of Proverbs says that a prudent wife is from the Lord and Psalm 127:3 says that children are an heritage of the Lord; and the fruit of the womb is His reward.

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