I realized this morning the month of April is nearing its end. Graduation season is right around the corner! As a children’s pastor I’m overjoyed to witness students make the transition from childhood to adulthood. The children’s ministry team joins families in praying that we’ve adequately prepared them for the next stage of their lives. My thoughts were focused on giving that ONE cool, inspiring, and useful graduation gift to our graduating seniors at church. I’m a serious Pinterest junkie and immediately started searching the site for gift basket ideas and books to be given as gifts. I found some great ideas but I didn’t feel that I’d found THE idea I was searching for. My mind began to wonder back in time and think about the gift my parents gave me that has made the greatest impact on my life. That gift is Jesus.
The greatest gift my parents gave me was introducing me to Jesus. Being that my parents are pastors it may not seem like such a big deal or that it would only be natural for them to do such a thing. But my parents took the time to teach me about God, what having a relationship with Christ meant, and instilled in me a love for God’s Word that remains to this day. They modeled a Christian life for me. Not a perfect life but one full of grace, learning, and faith. It wasn’t an easy task for my parents or me, especially as a teenager. I can’t begin to count the times my brothers and I were given lectures that included the words of Joshua, “…but as for me and my house we will serve the Lord.” I wasn’t allowed to speak in any manner because words have life. I wasn’t allowed to go just anywhere or hang out with just anybody because the environments I exposed myself to and the relationships I established were important. I was restricted from listening to certain times of music and watching certain TV shows and movies. Influences were closely guarded in our home. Though it was my life I wasn’t allowed to live any type of way. What kind of gift is this you say? Sounds like a life without life huh?
Jesus said, “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” Living a life for Christ is a life changing experience. My relationship with Christ has sustained me through many heartaches and disappointments. It’s given me unspeakable pleasure in life’s triumphs and helped me to cope with heartbreaking tragedies. A Christian life is one of freedom from condemnation. I know my true value. Through my relationship with Christ I found my purpose and discovered my identity.
As a believer in Christ I have the promise that He’ll always be with me. 30+ years later He is the gift that continues to give. I know the value of my words which I skillfully use to minister to children and families on a daily basis. I surround myself with people of faith who are full of love and acceptance. I’m able to reach out to people in any environment just as Jesus did seeing their worth and not their circumstances. I carefully select what influences me because I value the trust placed in me as a person of influence. Jesus continues to make an impact on my life and those connected to me through kinship, relationships, and ministry.
The greatest gift I can give others is Jesus. If you’d like to receive this gift I encourage you to pray this prayer from your heart: Father, thank You for the gift You’ve given me in Your son, Jesus Christ. Because You love me You sent Your only son to earth not to condemn me but to save me. I believe that Jesus died for my sins, was crucified, and rose from the grave in victory to save me from a punishment I rightly deserved. Father, please forgive me of my sins and cleanse me from all unrighteousness. Empower me this day to live a life of purpose for You. Be glorified in my words and actions. Help me boldly share the good news with others that Jesus died for their sins too. This I ask in Jesus’s name, Amen.
Needless to say I’ve already given our students the greatest gift. They know who Jesus is. As they graduate from high school and continue their journey in life I pray they’ll freely give the gift that keeps on giving. I pray that they’ll give others Jesus.
Keep giving! –Kilra Williams
Joshua 24:15 “And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” NKJV
John 10:10 “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” NKJV
John 3:16-17 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” NKJV