“Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!” I Cor. 9:15
I recently gave somebody a gift. It wasn’t a big deal. The gift didn’t cost me anything. More accurately, it didn’t require a purchase. It did require a certain amount of effort, emotional effort. There was planning involved along with timing. Follow through was required and it was also a surprise. The recipient had no idea of the gift.
In fact, it’s still sort of a surprise because the recipient still doesn’t know that they’ve received the gift. You see, it’s not actually tangible. You can’t see it or touch it; it’s the type of gift that isn’t experienced in the traditional sense.
How can this “intangible something or other” that can’t be touched, seen, heard, smelled or tasted be a gift? It was a joyful experience for me to give it. I knew that it would bring joy to the recipient. Even though they didn’t know that they had received a gift, the experience of receiving it brought evidence of a joyful heart to their face.
I guess in some sense they knew that they were receiving something, but they didn’t know the extent to which the gift went. It required me to do some things I wouldn’t normally do to make the gift possible; it meant that I would have to set aside my agenda so that someone else could experience joy. For weeks I needed to abandon my wishes so that I could grant the wishes of the recipient.
It was well worth it and continues to be worth it. Even though the person didn’t know that they were receiving a gift, and still doesn’t know that the gift is still being given, they have received it joyfully. They continue to receive it joyfully.
Here’s “Kicker #1”: I thought the gift was going to be for just one person. But while giving the gift I learned that it wasn’t appropriate for me to give it to just one person, but that there were others that would enjoy the gift. Each new recipient has responded the same way, with joy. And with each new person that I give the gift to my own joy increases. There are more that will receive the gift and I can’t wait to give it to them!
And “Kicker #2”: The gift requires continual giving. If I stop giving the gift it will no longer be a gift. But the more of the gift I give, the more it brings me joy.
“Kicker #3?” I don’t think that the recipients will ever know the depths to which the gift goes, that the gift is indescribable. And the fact that they will never know the extent of the gift makes it more of a joy for me to give.
I suppose that it’s much the same with the “indescribable gift” the caused Paul to use and exclamation point. He doesn’t use a “!” often, but there it is. We’ll never know the depths to which God loves us. We won’t know the extent of the gift we’ve received through Jesus. We think we know, but we don’t know. It’s indescribable.
Kicker #1: God’s gift isn’t just for one. It’s for many…it’s for all. He’s a God that can defy the laws of physics where His gift of eternal life is intended for all individually and individually for all. Indescribable.
Kicker #2: God’s gift is eternal. It is truly the gift that keeps giving. Again, God defies the laws of physics. His gift was given once for all (I Peter 3:18). And once you receive it it is eternal.
Kicker #3: We’ll never know the depths of His gift of salvation. And I think that’s OK with Him. I think He enjoys it that way; I think it blesses Him when we receive it with innocence.
Notice I didn’t say “receive it with ignorance.” Just as the recipients of my gift know that something was received, they don’t understand the extent to which it goes. And I want it that way. Those who have received the gift I gave are receiving it in love because I love them and they love me; not because of the value of the gift. They’re not ignorant of receiving something, they’re simply blessed to receive it in joyful innocence because it’s about a relationship, not a “thing.”
It blesses God’s heart when we receive from Him because of who He is, not because of what He gives. Receiving in innocence is rejoicing in the gift without knowing the extent of the gift. I suppose that we know less than one tenth of one percent of what God’s gift of grace really means. We may know that we’ve received something, but we’re joyfully unaware of the extent. And that’s by His design. He designed it so that we might have eternal life through Jesus. Who can understand the extent of a gift of a love that reaches all the way to the end of the eternal?
It’s indescribable; it’s a gift unaware. We might not understand it. We might not have words for it, but we can respond with a joy like we do. That’s authentic worship. That’s why worship.