This is a post I’ve been thinking about for a while and trying to save for just the right moment. Well, the right moment is here, and it probably has nothing to do with the fact that we are just a few hours from kicking off the National Championship game between Alabama & Texas I happen to be from Alabama, but I live now in Texas. We love Texas, for many reasons, but I am a huge fan of the Crimson Tide. Have been all my life. In our wonderful congregation of just over 1000 folks we have approximately six people (as far as I know) who claim to be from Alabama. Three of us are fans of the Crimson Tide and three of us are fans of that other team from Alabama While there are fans from various schools/teams around the nation most of our folks are fans of Texas, Oklahoma, Texas A & M, and Texas Tech. There is much to like about the Longhorns this year. They have an excellent coaching staff, they have outstanding players (including some wonderful young men who are Christians), and they play an exciting brand of football. I’ve tried (with the emphasis on tried) not to say too much about the game for fear that my team would lose and I would have to eat a lot of crow from all of these Texans! So, this is all pretty exciting, and I hope the team from T-Town will put it on the team in burnt orange.
Having said all of that, this post was not intended to be about a football game. It was meant to be about an anonymous gift I received. One of my favorite gifts of all time! Now, through the years I have receive many anonymous gifts? There have been unsigned letters from people that did not like something that was said in a sermon or who were angry about some decision made by the church. For a number of years, every January I received an envelope with no return address that contained a one page flyer about a special seminar that would help me become a better public speaker. It was never signed, but it came like clock work every year. Then one year it just stopped.
This gift is different. The helmet in the picture is an authentic Crimson Tide Helmet autographed by Gene Stallings, who happens to be the last coach that took Alabama to a National Championship. It was auctioned off at a benefit dinner that we attended several weeks ago. While I don’t know the exact amount, I do know that it took a rather large sum of money to purchase this gift. I have know idea who bought it and gave it to me. I am deeply thankful not only for the gift, but also for the very kind note that was attached to it when it was placed on my desk. The money went to a wonderful cause (the training of young men to Preach the Gospel). Part of me wishes I knew who gave me this wonderful gift so that I could express proper appreciation. Another part of me is thankful that the anonymous giver can enjoy knowing that they made this preacher a very happy man. So, if you are reading this, thank you, thank you, thank you. I will cherish this wonderful gift for many years to come.
My life has been blessed by knowing many givers. The kind of givers that Jesus speaks of in Matthew 25 who will give a cup of cold water in His Name. The kind of givers like the widow in Luke 21 who Jesus holds up before us as a model giver. The kind of givers like the Macedonian Christians who gave beyond their ability (2 Corinthians 8). The kind of givers who give in secret and their gifts are known only by the Father (Matthew 6:1-4). These are the kind of people who have learned from the greatest Giver of all (John 3:16; Romans 5:8). These are the givers who make our world a better place.
Thank you Father, for people who have learned how to give from You. Thank You, for people who give unselfishly of their time, their money, their talents, and their lives. Thank You most of all for giving us the greatest gift ever given! Help us all to learn to give like You.