Since I have a sister who is less than 2 years older than me, there was a time in our lives when a lot of our Christmas presents were identical. In fact, when my parents and grandparents would get us the same thing, they would wrap it in the same paper so that we knew to open those gifts together, ensuring that we didn’t ruin the surprise for one another. As we grew, the number of identical gifts lessened. As that occurred, my mom would often remind us that “although things may not be equal, they are fair.” She wanted us to be assured that while our gifts may not match, they were bestowing the same level of generosity on us both.
In reality, though, my mom could have rightly explained to us that it didn’t really matter whether things were equal, as any gift was an act of graciousness. Therefore, whether I experienced that graciousness to the same degree as my sister wasn’t the crux of the matter; what really mattered was whether I was appreciative of whatever generosity I did receive. My parents probably wisely thought that a preteen would not quite grasp that and so it was better to keep things “fair.” However, the lesson remains an important one. Because just like I was given to a comparison of gifts at Christmas, we are prone to compare the gifts that our Father gives us. Often times we forget that any gift is a undeserved.
Luke 4 may serve as a reminder of this. In speaking to the crowds, Christ reflects on some example of Old Testament provisions – a widow’s son who was raised from the dead, a leper who was healed from his disease. As our Savior shares, these weren’t the only people who were suffering; in fact, these weren’t the only ones who were suffering from these very same afflictions. Additionally, both of them were foreigners; they were not part of God’s chosen people, and yet God still decided to bless them and not others. While we may consider this “unfair,” it is not. Sometimes God chooses to bless us; other times others are the recipients of His generosity. The challenge is that we are often so focused on the times that we’re not, that we neglect the moments when we are. We are so concerned with what hasn’t been given to us, that we forget all that has. We may not receive everything we want or desire, but God gives us far more than we deserve. If He gave us nothing else (and He does), the gift of salvation through His Son expands and stretches the bounds of generosity to such a degree, that it alone should regularly cause us to pause, and give thanks.
We’re used to dwelling on all the blessings that we seem to be missing. Sometimes, however, we’re the one upon which the blessing has been poured. We would do better to focus on those times and to recognize that while the distribution of God’s gifts may not be equal, they are far more than we deserve.