Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – March 1, 2018
By Tripp Prince
What do you have that you did not receive? And if you received it, why do you boast as if it were not a gift? 1 Corinthians 4:7
When I was young, I longed for originality and distinctiveness. I sought to separate myself from those who had nurtured and shaped me in countless ways. I wanted to chart my own course, to be, as we say, an independent and self-made man. And yet, the older I get the more aware I become of my dependence upon others for who I am and what I have.
Life is a gift. In saying this, we often emphasize the value and dignity of every human life, as we rightly should. Yet what do we learn if we weight these words towards the idea of “gift?” Life, our very existence, does not originate with us nor do we will ourselves into being. Creation itself, is gift. It is the overflow of love from the eternal love of the Trinity. We cannot demand to exist, neither can we claim life as a right. All is gift.
St. Paul reminds us of the human temptation to construct false realities. We boast of our accomplishments and believe them to define our sense of worth and success. We exploit the marginalized and oppressed yet believe it is a necessary step towards growth. We ignore the desires and dreams of our neighbors, seeking the good of everyone only to the extent it is first and foremost the good for me. In short, we take and demand what is meant to be given and received.
Lent is a 40-day journey of reorientation to the true nature of reality. We are invited to realign our stories with God’s story, to carve out space to learn what is good, beautiful, and true. It is an opportunity to invite the light of Christ into the dark places of our hearts and lives. And though it is often a painful process of self-denial and repentance, the aim is the restoration of gift.
To receive our own life as a gift given from the Lord, and to rejoice in the beauty and diversity of his creation, join him in calling it “good!” As Ignatius of Loyola once said, “All the things in this world are gifts of God, created for us, to be the means by which we can come to know him better, love him more surely, and serve him more faithfully.”
“Every generous act of giving, with every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change” (James 1:17).
PrayerFather, thank you for the gift of life. Help me to receive it with joy and celebrate this gift in every circumstance and season. Amen.
ApplicationHow can you more fully embrace and celebrate the gift of life this Lenten season?
Related ReadingPsalm 139:14; Ephesians 4:7; 1 Timothy 6:13
Post/Tweet todayEach day of life is a gift from God to be received with joy and gratitude. #WisdomHunters #giftoflife
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