Some gifts increase in value

Published 9:23 pm Friday, August 15, 2014

I have been blessed over the years with many acts of kindness extended to me by a lot of people.  All of them are special and much appreciated, whether it was a word of encouragement, a meal, a helping hand or some tangible gift, and I have found that some of them have become more special with the passing of time and the changing of events.  I had one of those recently that I will forever cherish and benefit from.

A few months ago a fellow pastor friend in our community questioned me about a particular study Bible.  Like most preachers, I have a variety of Bibles in my library–various translations, several study Bibles, Bibles of different sizes and colors—but additional ones are always welcomed, and it was not long before he brought me another one.  As it turned out, though, I already had a copy of the one he brought, so he took it back.  Determined to do something beneficial to me in my personal study and sermon preparation, he soon brought a replacement; it was a type of study Bible that I did not already own, so  I was delighted to receive it and grateful to have a new reference work to aid me in my studies.  Needless to say, that was a very valuable gift to me from a person that I have much respect for.

Early last Friday morning we received the shocking news that Pastor Charles Barineau had died suddenly.  It saddened my heart deeply and it instantly made that Bible much more valuable to me, for it was he who had given it to me just weeks ago.  In his memory and honor, I read from it as I preached on Sunday morning.

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I verbally expressed my appreciation to Pastor Charles when he blessed me with that gift, but I planned to send him a personal letter of appreciation as well.  Sadly, in the busyness of life, that letter was never written and the opportunity to do so is forever lost.  He did not expect a letter from me or anything else; he was simply doing what he did for so many people:  being an encouragement and offering sincere Christian affection.  Yet I truly intended to take a little time to write a few lines or send him a card, but through my procrastination I allowed the season of opportunity expire.

I am sure Pastor Charles would not want me to beat myself up for not taking the time to write him a note of thanks, but I am equally confident, since he was both a devoted student and an effective teacher of God’s Word, he would want us all to learn some things from it, such as the brevity and uncertainty of life, and the importance of using every moment and every opportunity for the glory of God and the good of people.

We should all take a little time to pull back from the things that we think are so powerfully important so we can see if we are missing opportunities that are of greater importance.

So, give that call.  Write that letter.  Make that visit.  And never forget the words of James 4:14:  “Whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow.  For what is your life?  It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away” (New King James Version).

As Pastor Charles so often said to me, “To God be the glory!”