Finding God's Winning Spirit

Happy Birthday

July 20, 2015 | Greg Smith | Devotional


The worst birthday present I ever received from my dad was a pair of boots I got when I was 12.   My Dad tried to pass off a pair of work boots as hunting gear, which was pretty lame seeing’s how neither one of us hunted – this was confirmed every weekend when he would stick his head in my bedroom on Saturday and say “grab your working boots I need your help.”

The second worst birthday gift came a few years later.  After lobbying for six months for a new 10-speed bicycle (I am so old - this was when 10-speed bicycles just came out) I was once again disappointed. Instead of a new “state of the art” bike dad unveiled a used bike he had picked up at a yard sale. Come to find out he had spent evenings working on this obsolete wreck. He sanded the old thing down, painted it red, installed brand new balloon tires and even attached a basket on the handle bars. This thing only had one speed, ugly! My obvious disappointment was a surprise to him - after all, in Dad’s words, “it was new to me.”

Now don't get me wrong every November 21st through most of my life I was spoiled rotten and received some wonderful birthday gifts. Ironically, when it came to remembering birthdays I could not remember any of them -  just that disappointing red bicycle. A few years ago, for the life of me I do not know why, it dawned on me why that “red bicycle birthday” stuck in my memory. It was not because it was my worst gift but rather one of the best.

Maybe it was pure revelation or the fact that I had since experienced fatherhood on my own, but I was finally able to see that gift from a different perspective.  I for the first time realized how much love, time and effort went into my dad's renovation of that old bicycle. It was not something that he simply purchased but yet labored over, thinking of me every night he labored. He invested his time, talent and love into a gift that came from his heart not Walmart.

I cannot remember all the worthless junk I asked for and received on my birthdays (all that "really cool – gotta have" stuff that I received and quickly lost, broke or took for granted). The only thing that remains in my memory is that my Dad loved me in spite of what I thought I wanted or needed. The thing that really lasts in this world is a Father’s love.

Jesus knew this and never forgot it.


Lamentation 3: 21-23

This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never ceases, His compassions never fails….

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