Thanks for reading along over these three weeks, as I reflected on some of the people who had an impact on my life. And I trust you have seen from these readings why they are dear to me. Here is a final devotional from Charles Swindoll, who was associated in prior ministry not only with Dallas Theological Seminary and was ordained at the same Dallas church as was I, but also as a pastor of an Evangelical Free Church in California …
The Ultimate Unexpected Gift
“For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16, NLT)
Suddenly, one raw November evening, my old tattered basketball burst. I had already patched the thing twice, which made it bounce funny, making one more patch out of the question. That’s when the hints began. I started my not-so-subtle campaign of dropping hints to my mother about my dream for a new basketball for Christmas, laced with a frenzied, painfully obvious passion for doing my chores—cheerfully!
Christmas Day never arrived so slowly. While no one was looking, I had shaken the box marked with my name enough to know that it had to contain what I had been wanting so badly—right size, right shape, right weight—everything! I tore at the wrapping and ribbon, yanked open the top, and to my disbelieving eyes there it was, A WORLD GLOBE. Looking up at me was Italy, as I recall. The exact size, shape, and weight of a basketball, but a world globe! My heart sank. Ever tried to dribble a world globe?
It was truly an unexpected gift.
What a thrill; all Christmas afternoon I had the joy of locating geographical spots my mother would call out . . . Singapore, Latvia, Montreal, New Zealand, Brazil, Moscow, Norway, and dozens of other spots around the globe. Who on earth needs a WORLD GLOBE? Little did I know back then. Little did I realize that my mother’s gift was a gift given in love—knowing it was what I needed, not what I wanted.
Just like the gift of God’s Son was to a dark and sinful world. Though they didn’t want Him, He gave His Son . . . because He knew that’s what they needed.
How things change with the passing of years. Today, my world has changed from an interest in a bouncing basketball to a needy world. What really excites me now is not a round ball but a huge globe … and the thought of people from every tongue and tribe and nation hearing about and receiving the unexpected gift of God’s love in Christ. It’s the same excitement you’ll find here at Dallas Seminary as we prepare students to offer the ultimate unexpected Gift to those who live all around this huge world globe.