Ansell column: Reflecting the gift of Jesus as a true 'moonshot gift'

KEN ANSELL

I remember when our oldest grandson Kaleb turned 13, and we got him a Texas Ranger hoodie. He was living in Philadelphia at the time while his dad finished his seminary degree. Kaleb loves the Rangers and is a baseball fanatic like his dad and his Uncle Jack (my favorite barista). Obviously we landed this gift, Kaleb sent pictures and I’m pretty sure never took the hoodie off except for showers. 

Sometimes we win, and sometimes we lose. Have you ever worked really hard at buying the perfect gift for someone? Kind of a moonshot gift. Maybe you even went over budget to get it. Then when you gave the gift immediately you could tell it was more bust than boom. 

If this gift was an article of clothing and the giftee said they loved it but they never wore it, that’s a red flag that you gave a dud. We had this experience at Christmas not too long ago. The moonshot gift was not so moonshot. The Eagle did not land, but rather it crashed.

I wonder if this is how God feels at Christmas? What I mean is He gave us this great gift in Jesus Christ and we said the gift was awesome and He said, “Are you sure because I saved the receipt?” And we said, “No, we are sure, it’s great.” But then God has never really seen the gift on us, and what I mean by that is, our lives don’t really reflect the gift.  I guess like a not-so-great gift, Jesus is kind of tucked away in a hall closet somewhere, and when we pull out the boxes of Christmas decorations in November or December, we find Him and say, “Hey, here is that gift we got from God.”

David Platt, pastor, author, former leader at the International Mission Board at the Southern Baptist Convention has shared in the past that every week when he preaches, he feels like he is trying to cajole Christians to act like Christians.  

Bringing dry bones to life is a pretty big task. It seems like the church spends most of its time trying to revive the people who are at church to come to life. We try a new program, and when it doesn’t work, we try something else. Ultimately it’s a heart problem, and we can’t do much about it. It’s hard to convince people who say they got the gift and said the gift was great that the gift IS great.

In Matthew 12:30 Jesus said, “Whoever is not with Me is against Me, and whoever does not gather with Me scatters.” Whoever is wearing the gift, making use of the gift, living a life reflective of the gift has received the gift, and the one who is not and does not, has not. Sad but true. So no more cajoling people, but let me also say if you are reading this, it’s not too late to actually receive the gift. He told me to tell you that.