These Are The Gifts

An inspiring Christian poem by Henry VanDyke. When people tell you that they have never been given a gift, or who seem to have always been at the short end of the stick, VanDyke's poem may be just what they should sit down and read and spend time contemplating. It isn't that there are people who have never been given a gift or gifts, it is, instead, that they have never understood or accepted that gifts from God are given to all of us on a daily basis.

In fact, here is just one example, although some may argue this is trite, of a singular gift bestowed on each and every person daily and that is the gift of oxygen to breathe. Or, continuing in this same vein, what about the gifts of rain, or sunshine. Then, as the poet writes:
These are the gifts I ask
Of thee, Spirit serene:
Strength for the daily task,
Courage to face the road

Each person is given the courage to carry on knowing full well that no one is ever given any challenge or problem beyond their individual strength. This strength is freely given to those who have accepted the Lord Jesus as their Savior and comes to them through the Holy Spirit. It is this strength that can take us all through every firestorm of life; a strength that is unavailable to those who do not believe. It is not the person`s wealth that can guide us to surmount life`s difficulties because wealth cannot bring inner peace in the midst of fiery storms. It isn`t how politically powerful an individual is either that can offer the inner fortitude to mount the hill from the valley below. The aspect of what so many seek is that which we cannot on our own achieve.

These special gifts although differing from one to another are not given for self or self-centered use. Ther are given so that they may be used to help build the body of Christ, that is, every believer within the church. One gift may be that of teaching, or prophesying, or praying, or wisdom, or knowledge, or healings. Each gift is meant to be utilized as a contributor to one body just as the body has many parts, each part is necessary for the proper functioning of the whole.

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These Are The Gifts
Poet: Henry VanDyke

These are the gifts I ask
Of thee, Spirit serene:
Strength for the daily task,
Courage to face the road,
Good cheer to help me bear the traveller's load,
And, for the hours of rest that come between,
An inward joy in all things heard and seen.
These are the sins I fain
Would have thee take away:
Malice, and cold disdain,
Hot anger, sullen hate,
Scorn of the lowly, envy of the great,
And discontent that casts a shadow gray
On all the brightness of the common day.

These are the things I prize
And hold of dearest worth:
Light of the sapphire skies,
Peace of the silent hills,
Shelter of forests, comfort of the grass,
Music of birds, murmur of little rills,
Shadow of clouds that swiftly pass,
And, after showers,
The smell of flowers
And of the good brown earth,—
And best of all, along the way, friendship and mirth.

So let me keep
These treasures of the humble heart
In true possession, owning them by love;
And when at last I can no longer move
Among them freely, but must part
From the green fields and from the waters clear,
Let me not creep
Into some darkened room and hide
From all that makes the world so bright and dear;
But throw the windows wide
To welcome in the light;
And while I clasp a well-beloved hand,
Let me once more have sight
Of the deep sky and the far-smiling land,—
Then gently fall on sleep,
And breathe my body back to Nature's care,
My spirit out to thee, God of the open air.

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