Tag Archives: gifts

The Gift

It didn’t come from under a Christmas tree. It didn’t come wrapped in colorful paper. It wasn’t even a tangible gift, although it was just as real and wonderful and exciting as the dawn of a new day. The gift was given to me by my father, back in the carefree days of my youth. His gift was a love of the outdoors.

Copyright Mike L. Raether

Some of my best childhood memories are of times spent camping with my family next to a whispering stream, and waking up on crisp mountain mornings to the smell of frying bacon rising from a cast iron pan strategically placed over a cheerful campfire. And then there were those times Dad would wake my little brother and me in the middle of the night for a long drive in the dark to arrive at first light at a trout lake. There we would slide a homemade rowboat from the top of the family bus and into the lake, and push off into the morning mist just as the sun winked above the tops of clean-scented evergreens. Most mornings we would fill stringers with pan-sized trout, gleaming trophies for a kid to take home and proudly share with the rest of the family.

The gift of the love of the outdoors is not something meant to be kept to yourself. It’s meant to be passed on, and it isn’t reduced by the sharing; it multiplies and brings joy to others. I’ve passed the gift along to my children, and they in turn are passing it on to theirs. In all of this the gift has come full circle and returned to me, bringing fresh joy to my life, like wildflowers suddenly encountered along a mountain trail.             

As Priscilla Wayne once noted, “…appreciation is the food of the soul.” What is it about the outdoors you appreciate?

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“In the beginning was the Word…”

By Mike Raether

Words. They can be spoken, written, signed, whispered, sung, and shouted. They can communicate love, comfort, and truth. They can inspire, challenge, and correct. And although words are sometimes misused, the truth remains unblemished that words were originally designed by God to be used for the good of mankind.

copyright www.sxc.hu, ID 1115823
copyright www.sxc.hu

In His wisdom, God created words to reveal truth to man. They are His chosen conduits of communication. When Jesus walked the earth, He used words to tell people about God’s love, to heal, and to save. When Jesus returned home, He continued to work in such a way that within a few hundred years the book we call the Holy Bible was completed, a book filled with words to tell us of God’s purposes and plans for man.

Why do you write? To help people become all they can be? That’s admirable. Do you write to make money? That’s OK, too, for Jesus said in Matthew 10:10, “…the worker is worthy of his support.” (NASU). I write for both reasons, and more. The convictions that fuel our writing are many and varied. And our convictions sometimes change with the seasons of our lives. But I believe that the important thing is not so much what we write and why we write, but how we approach our writing that counts.

You and I have a gift. We have the ability to communicate truth with words, the talent to sway men’s opinions and thoughts, to even change the courses of their lives. It is a God-given talent, a special ability not entrusted to many.

We have been given much – and much is required. Writing is a gift that is oft admired, but you and I know that writing is not as glamorous as it seems. It’s often a whole lot of hard work. And with the gift comes responsibility; responsibility to develop the gift of writing to its fullest potential, responsibility to be professionals, and responsibility to put our best efforts into everything we write.

From the beginning, God used words to reveal Himself and His ways to the world. And God made us partners with Him, using the medium of words. Our gift may find expression in many ways, but it is the gift of God nonetheless. As the apostle Paul once told the Corinthians, “…What do you have that you did not receive…” (1 Corinthians 4:7, NASU).

God has created us all different. No two humans have ever been created the same. We are, as Scripture says, “fearfully and wonderfully made.” And yet, we humans share many of the same likes and dislikes, and our preferences spill out into our relationship with God and the way we relate to Him. Take worship, for example. Some of us prefer traditional hymns; others like contemporary praise choruses. For some of us worship must be deeply personal, quite, and reflective. At the opposite end of the spectrum are those who celebrate God corporately with clapping, swaying, and uplifted hands.

And then there are writers. As writers, can we not approach writing as an act of worship, a special pathway of connection to God?

The next time you sit down to write, make writing an act of worship. Pause and reflect on the gift that has been giving to you. Take a deep breath and breathe out a prayer of thanks. Pick up the pen or rest your fingers on the keyboard with reverent awe. “For in the beginning was the word…”