Posted by: mikenicholsblog | December 1, 2013

the Gift

I wonder what the next three and a half weeks will hold for each of us?  Black Friday and Small Business Saturday have passed. Today is Cyber Monday. But every day between now and Christmas can give you and I an opportunity to reflect on the Promised Birth, and also find ways to gift others. Intentionally looking for the chance to bless and gift others is noble but rare.  During this season, I trust that all of our Journey articles will help motivate you to gift others in response to the magnificent Gift given to mankind over two thousand years ago.  With those words as a backdrop, I want to share with you a story that I read just this morning.

My wife and I are on a forty day reading journey together. We are using the book, Draw the Circle, by Mark Batterson.  The following true story culminates on Christmas Day 1908, but the results are eternal.  God is no less interested in leading you and me than he was John and Jessie Perkins.  But are we listening?

In 1908, two new missionaries, John and Jessie Perkins boarded a steamship circling the coast of Liberia. They knew God had led them to Africa, but didn’t know where. So they did something a bit radical for most of us.  They bought tickets and trusted that God would let them know where to get off!  When the ship rounded Garraway Point, they sensed the Holy Spirit’s leading to get off the ship.

They had no idea that a young man named Jasper Toe lived in this region. He was God-fearing, and practiced religious rituals, but had never heard the name of Jesus. One night he looked to heaven and prayed, “If there is a God in heaven, help me find You.” That very night he sensed God speaking to him. “Go to Garraway beach. You will see a box on the water with smoke coming out of it. And from that box on the water will come some people in a small box. These people in this small box will tell you how to find Me.”  Hmm!

Jasper went seven days by foot to Garraway beach. He arrived on Christmas Day. He saw the box (a steamship) floating on the water with smoke coming out of it. That is when John and Jessie sensed God telling them to get off the boat. When they approached the captain of the ship, he wasn’t obliged to let them off. He informed them that it was cannibal territory, and that people who went there didn’t come back.

John was adamant, “God wants us to get off the boat.”  In a canoe with all of their belongings, this brave couple headed to shore in a small box.  Guess who was on shore to meet them… Jasper! He took them to his village and they eventually learned the language of Jasper’s people. They started a church and Jasper Toe was the first convert.  His life was changed and those who knew him shared that he was one of the Godliest men they had ever known. And his legacy – hundreds of churches that he helped establish in the country of Liberia.

John and Jessie Perkins could have found lots of excuses not to give the gift of themselves. But they listened to our God — who speaks.  They didn’t know where He would say, “Get off!”  But they trusted that God would tell them. Think about Jasper Toe’s Christmas Day in 1908.  The Perkins gave their gift (themselves) and Jasper received the Gift!

While the world races toward Christmas 2013, will you listen for the gift that God may want you to share with someone?  It may be a gift from your treasures, or maybe it will be the gift of your time — but most of all, it will be the gift of you. Be willing to give it.  Let your gift reflect the Gift!

yeam2012


Responses

  1. My wife and I are on the same book. We know a pastor named Mary Toe in Liberia. We wondered if it was a distant relative. We feel richly bless by the people of Liberia and the part they still play in our lives.

  2. John Henry, I am more and more convinced God has woven this tapestry we see, that Mary Toe and her distant ancestor Jasper are a part of, and you and I are a part of, all for the purpose of His glory, and for the edification of the saints in Christ Jesus. He will reveal the upper side in the last day, and though we see only the scraggly underside now, with its frayed and knotted stitching, we’ll get to see how each of these patches pieced together fulfill His purpose in that moment of time for those whose heart and desire are seeking Him. When I get out of my lust and walk in the spirit as you’ve helped me do with your response above, I can clearly feel the Spirit in me rejoicing and urging me on to a closer walk with the Lord. I thank you for your part in God’s indescribable Love for us this season.


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