August 26, 2009

I’m Thinking About Presents - Martha Toews Anderson

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Eilif and I celebrated our 56th wedding anniversary by traveling to Calgary to witness the marriage ceremony of our granddaughter, Judith, to Shawn Roberts. What especially thrilled my heart was the confidence in their actions and voices as they spoke their marriage vows, expressing their commitment to each other before God. I pondered the fact that in marriage the couple is literally giving themselves to each other. I am thankful that after over half a century of married life, the giving becomes even more meaningful.

Coincidentally, the message we heard at church the next morning was on the subject of Giving. When it comes to giving gifts or donations to someone we are also giving something of ourselves, in a smaller scale. We are making an investment in the recipient. If given with the right motive, a gift increases our interest in that individual or cause.

My husband’s eightieth birthday followed only a month later. As the family was organizing a celebration in his honour, they wanted to come up with a gift that would have special significance for him. Knowing his passion to help the Leprosy Mission buy the much needed medicine that cures lepers and gives them another chance at life. They set out a basket for contributions, collecting $80.00. Eilif called it, “A very thoughtful way to honour me.” A gift is special to the recipient because of the thoughtfulness and love it represents.

God, likewise, has given individual gifts to us. He invests something of Himself in each life at conception. Each person, created in God's image, is endowed with a sense of creativity and a specific combination of talents. God reveals His interest in us personally by giving us what I like to call birthday presents. These abilities, unique to each one, are entrusted to us for the benefit of others. For example, Eilif enjoys working with metal and has come up with various inventions. What he considers his greatest contribution is the Grain Guard aeration grain drier, making it possible to dry grain in the bins, thereby saving much grain.

When we are born again, our Creator again gives us birthday presents. Along with the new life in Christ, He distributes to each new member specific abilities for ministry. The Scriptures refer to them as gifts of the Spirit, differing from our natural talents. For example, an individual may have an unusual ability to write with clarity on various subjects. When it comes to spiritual truths, however, natural talent is not enough. To be able to expound the Word of God requires spiritual understanding. As we share in the fellowship of God's people, our special abilities in certain areas will become evident, either to the individual or to others. The Bible explains it best.

“Now God gives us many kinds of special abilities, but it is the same Holy Spirit who is the source of them all. There are different kinds of service to God, but it is the same Lord we are serving (11 Corinthians 12:4,5 LB). Paul, under the inspiration of God, enumerates some of these: ability to give wise advice, studying and teaching, faith in prayer, healing, preaching, and discernment to determine the truth of what others claim.

Sadly, these gifts, like our natural abilities, are often unrecognized. That is why it is important for us to let our fellow members know in what way we are blessed through them and to encourage them in that ministry. God has not made us to live independently. We are members one of another. We all need each other. That’s why Inscribe Christian Writers Fellowship serves such a great purpose.


  1. Great post, Martha. I am encouraged by it. :)Marcia

  2. Anonymous3:00 pm GMT-7

    I enjoyed the article, Martha. I'll try to run off a copy for Ann. (She read your Christmas letter and was wondering what a "blog" is (ha). Nettie


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