Black Mail – Bob’s Updates

  • Gifts Only Become Gifts When They’re Received

    December, 2016


    It’s funny how the brain works sometimes.  As the Christmas season approaches, childhood memories keep coming to mind and more specifically, I’ve been thinking about some of my family’s Christmas routines and traditions.  For sure, my parents gave their best when it came to ensuring that we boys knew of the significance of Christ’s birth, but truthfully it was the presents under the tree that both captured our hearts and got us up earlier than any other day of the year.


    As a child, I was a “receiver only” of the gifts that were being opened and I was good with that.  But then when I was about seven or eight years old, something shifted and I can clearly remember experiencing this undeniable desire to become a giver of gifts as well.  Of course, I was young, I had no money and so, my only option was to sneak into my parent’s room a few days before Christmas, take something of theirs that I was sure they liked, wrap it up and then slip it under the tree on Christmas morning.  Looking back, my mom was always better at acting both surprised and delighted with what I’d given, but because both parents expressed their gratitude, I always felt great and equally thankful that they never asked where I’d done my Christmas shopping.


    Apart from the obvious (like, when you reach a certain age, people don’t want you going through their “stuff” and then giving them what they already own), I’ve come to appreciate the fact that God has placed in all of us an inner desire to express our love and appreciation through the act of  giving.  It was Jesus who said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” and while I’ve found that to be true, I’ve also discovered that giving is way more fun and meaningful when the receiver of the gift is unquestionably grateful.


    Since launching the ministry of Pathfinders In The Marketplace three years ago, there’s been no shortage of opportunities to serve others.  In giving, I have definitely received and I have been encouraged as I’ve watched God at work in people’s lives.  Like the presents under our trees, challenges come in all shapes and sizes.  Health issues, relational conflicts, destructive habits, a financial crisis, loss of a loved one, the fear of death, diminished faith and/or no faith, all reflect some of the most common stories I hear and then, get to respond to by both showing and sharing the love of Christ.


    As well, over the past year, I’ve had the privilege of officiating at weddings and funerals, leading Bible studies and working closely with business leaders who seek to lead in a God-honouring way.  I’ve had the privilege of organizing events where the gospel is shared, I’ve celebrated with men who have made a decision to follow Christ and I’ve found great delight in walking with those who are committed to growing in their faith.


    A few paragraphs ago, I said that giving is way more fun and meaningful when the receiver is unquestionably grateful and without a doubt, there are many who have encouraged me through their words of genuine gratitude.  But, it’s also led me to ponder two important questions.  First off, have I done well at communicating my gratitude to you for the part that you have played (and hopefully, will continue to play) in this ministry and secondly, have I done well in expressing my gratitude to God for the gift of his Son.  It’s incredible to think that through him, we have been invited to receive the gift of salvation, the gift of the Holy Spirit, the gift of grace and of faith as well as the spiritual gifts that, when put into action, have a way of bringing meaning and significance to our daily walk with him and subsequently, hope to a world that desperately needs a Saviour.


    So once again, thank you for the part that you’ve chosen to play in helping me share the good news that Christ, our Saviour is born.  And please know that Carolyn and I sincerely wish for you and yours, a wonderful Christmas season and His very best in the year ahead.



Click here to see the list of Black Mail updates