It is a gift
It is a gift

“For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?” 1 Corinthians 4:7 (NIV)

Pride and arrogance are strong recipe for failure and destruction for they don’t only

make their victims to be overly selfish; they also lead them to despise others.
The questions in our text were originally put to the members of the Corinthian Church,

who were glorying in, and boasting of the ministers under whom they were converted, and by whom they were baptized, to the

neglect and contempt of others; when the apostle would have them consider, and whatever difference was made between them and others, was made, not by man, but

God; that whatever good and benefit they had enjoyed under their respective ministers, were in a way of receiving, and

from God; and therefore they ought not to glory in themselves, nor in their ministers, but in God.

Furthermore, the apostle here doubtless, in posing these questions, also has in his eye the teachers in the Church of Corinth, and intends to show them that there was no

occasion of pride or to assume pre-eminence. As all that they possessed had been given of God, it could not be the occasion of boasting or self-confidence. The

apostle doubtless has reference to those attainments in piety, talents, or knowledge by which one teacher was more eminent than others.

Who has separated you from another; or who has made you superior to others, he ask. This may refer to everything in which one was superior to others, or distinguished from them.

This verse contains a reason for what Paul had just said; and the reason is, that all that any of them possessed had been derived

from God, and no endowments whatever, which they had, could be laid as the foundation for self- congratulations and boasting.

What does any of us have; what height or level have we attained in life that makes us think and or feel different from or superior to others? Let this all important question feel our thought as we further our discourse.

The question posed by our text cannot be any more appropriate in any context than in the context of today’s Church where some Christians live a life driven by claim of

superiority over fellow Christians. A situation where some Christians choose to refer to other Christians as unbelievers just because they feel they have some level of

spiritual endowment than them; or because they have some measure of higher maturity level, begs for an answer to the question of our text. We are faced with the fact that it is

God who makes one, in any of these respects, to differ from others; and it is especially true in regard to personal piety. Had not God interfered and made a

difference, all would have remained alike under sin. We all would have together rejected His mercy; and it is only by His distinguishing love that any are brought to

believe and be saved and rising to eminence and usefulness in the Church. There is an ecclesiastical difference which God makes in His own people, who have gifts deferring

one from another; there are diversities of gifts, administrations, and operations among them, and all from the same spirit: but the grand distinction God has made

among men, lies in His special, distinguishing, and everlasting love to some, and not others; in His choice of them in Christ unto everlasting salvation; in the gift

of them to Christ in the eternal covenant; in the redemption of them by His blood; in His powerful and prevalent intercession for them; in God’s effectual calling of them by

His grace; in His resurrection of them from the dead to everlasting life, placing them at Christ’s right hand and their entrance into

everlasting glory; when the distinction will be kept up, as in the above instances, through the endless ages of eternity; all which is owing, not to anything of man’s, but

to the free grace, sovereign will, and good pleasure of God. This passage states a general doctrine, that the reason why one man differs from another is to be traced to

God; and that this fact should repress all boasting and glorying, and produce true humility in the minds of Christians. All supernatural and spiritual blessings are

received from God; such as a justifying righteousness, sanctifying grace, remission of sin, the new name of adoption, strength to perform good works, to bear and suffer

reproach and persecution for Christ and to preserver to the end, with a right and title to eternal glory. Therefore, no matter at what

level of faith and spiritual maturity we might be as individual Christians, we must not look or talk down on any fellow pilgrim as we all are still on our journey solely dependent on the grace of God. We must hold onto the spirit .

What do you have that you did not receive?

The same question should be applied to native endowments of mind; to opportunities of education; to the arrangements by which one rises in the

world; to health; to property, as well as to any other endeavor.
This is not designed to discourage human effort and exertion; but to discourage a spirit of vain-glory and boasting as we see in

Our Civil Society.

It may be observed, however, that it is as true of intellectual rank, or health, of wealth, of food, of raiment, of liberty, of peace, as it is of religion, that all come from God; and as

this fact which is so obvious and well known, does not repress the exertions of people to preserve their health and to obtain property, so it should not repress their

exertions to obtain salvation. God governs the world on the same good principles everywhere; and the fact that He is the source of all blessings, should not operate

to discourage, but should prompt to human effort. The hope of His aid and blessing is the only ground of encouragement in any undertaking.

A man who makes the most painful and faithful effort to obtain anything good, should,if successful, trace his success in God.He should still feel that it is God who

gave him the disposition, the time, the strength, the success.And he should be grateful that he was enabled to make the effort,not vain,nor proud,or boastful.

Whatever difference is made among men, is of God; it is He that makes them to differ from the rest of the creation; from angels, to

whom they are inferior; and from beast, to whom they are superior; and from one another in their person, size, shape, and

countenance, which is a physical, or natural difference. It is God that makes them to differ from one another in things of a civil

nature; as kings and subjects, masters and servants, high and low, rich and poor, bond and free, which any be called a political, or civil difference. Remember it is a Gift

Whatever mercies and blessings men enjoy, they have in a way of receiving, and from God the father of all mercies; all natural and temporal mercies are received from Him.

To glory in any mercy, favour, or blessing received from God, as it was not received from Him, but as owing to human power, care, and industry, betrays wretched vanity,

stupid and more than brutish ignorance, horrid ingratitude, abominable pride and wickedness; and is contrary to the grace of God, which teaches men humility and

thankfulness. To God alone should all the blessings of nature, providence, and grace be ascribed; he ought to have all the glory of them; and to Him and Him only, praise is due for them.

Life is a Gift from God.
The only way to fulfilling life is through thanksgiving and praise. When we recognize life as a gift from God, we start appreciating every breath we take. And when we do that, we are fully living.

Do you think life is a gift or do you take your life for granted? Even if we think in theory that life is a gift, there are times when we get so busy and task-oriented that we

almost forget that life is a gift from God; a very precious gift from God. When we don’t appreciate breathing, we take life for granted. And that leads us into life that is not all it is meant to be.

When we live with the consciousness that life is as gift from God, life becomes full of

meaning and purpose. Suddenly we start recognizing heavenly gifts around us. More as we continue to grow in God’s
love and grace.

Life is a Trust.
Life is a gift that God places in our care. We have been entrusted with this most precious thing called a human life. And like any gift, it

can be wasted or squandered. Or it can be used for the purpose it was intended.
And whatever we choose to do with our

lives, it matters. It really does matter. Why? Because we matter to God. Your life is God’s gift to you. And all that you have and all that you are is part of the gift.

Your time, your education, your wealth, your influence, your mind, your creativity. It’s all a trust. And it matters what you do with all of that because your life matters to God.

Be very careful, then how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. (Eph. 5:15-16, NIV)

Do not take it for granted. Remember it is a Gift
Taking God’s good gifts for granted leads to misery. As soon as we forget to give thanks and praise to God from his gifts, we take them for granted. When we don’t remember

we are not entitled to luxuries and niceties in life, we blame God for our hardships. That’s why it is important to seize every day and remember that life is a gift from God.

Counting blessings is an effective way to keep us from taking life and other gifts of God for granted. And that enables us to truly enjoy every breath we take.

Everything that we have is a gift.We must have that attitude, that God has blessed us. Our life, we could not be here for a second unless God sustained us at every moment.

None of us earned our life; none of us continues to earn our lives. It’s all a gift from God. All of creation is a gift of God. None of us can earn that, and if we think we’ve earned, we’ve make a big mistake.

The Greatest Gift of All
In Luke 18:18, we read of a discourse between our lord Jesus and a young ruler.
He talked with Jesus about, how do I earn

the privilege of entering into the kingdom of God/ how do I earn it? Today, many still make same mistake as the young man. We lose sight of the fact of the greatest gift God

has given to mankind- salvation. The first thing we have to understand here is we don’t earn salvation- everlasting life. We don’t earn the glories, the joys and the fullness of

life that’s in the reign of God. That always a gift to us, and we have to take it beyond that. It matters enough that when we made

a mess of things, when we were unfaithful with the trust we had been given- bibl calls it is- God thought we mattered enough that He sent His Son Jesus in the vulnerable form of

a baby, knowing that He’d have to die to be our Savior, so we could begin life over, forgiven and clean.

When it hits home that your life is a trust from God, that He sent His Son to die on the cross, to pay the debt you owed but couldn’t,

so you could live an abundant life in this world and eternal life in the world to come; when that becomes real to you, you get it. You get the fact that your life matters and it matters what you do with your life.

When you stand in front of a cross and you realize that as Jesus said about Himself, He had come to seek and to save the lost- when

you realize that you were the lost He came for, and that He came, knowing it would take His life, it hits home: my life matters. The choices I make, how I spend my time. What I

do with my energy and my influence and my finances and what I put into my mind.
Whether o r not I live for self or for something greater, it really matters.

Yourself life matters because it matters to God. And because your life matters to God, it matters what you do with your life.
“And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?”

In response to this questions, let’s go back again to the Gospel text cited above, Luke 18. In verse 20 through 25, we read as our

Lord Jesus responds to the young man’s question and so reveals his attitude towards material acquisition. And so Jesus says “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me”

Now that we understand what God has given us- the world itself, and all the blessings that are on our earth: God gave that to us. We never made it or earned it,

and our individual lives are a gift. Our abilities and everything we have is a gift from God. Jesus personally here teaches us,

through this young man, that we have to have that attitude that I don’t own what God has given to me. It’s God’s gift. I haven’t earned it. I can’t earn it. It’s a gift from God.

We live in a society governed and bewitched by greed. And if we’re going to avoid greed in all forms, and we’re going to find our way

into the fullness of God’s life and the Reign of God, we must have the attitude that all that I have doesn’t really belong to me. It

belongs to God, and because it belongs to God, it belongs to everyone. We must understand that God intended the earth and that it contains for the use of every human

person on this earth to have the opportunity for a full human life. But what do we see today? We live in a country where we have 1 percent who have an extraordinary,

unbelievable amount of wealth, and 99 percent that are struggling to have two square meals a day. They don’t have access to what we need for a full human life. It

becomes troubling when most of the wealth of the wealthy 1 percent comes from our collective God given resources.

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That’s not right. God intended Nigeria in general and Ala Igbo in particular, and all that it contains for every Nigerian and Igbo

person respectively, so every person would have a full human life. No wonder the scripture asks “if anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in

need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person” (1 John 3:17, NIV)

As St. Ambrose wrote “You are not making a gift of your possessions to the poor person. You are handing over to the poor what

belongs to the poor” that’s a hard saying, but it’s part of God’s wisdom. If you have more than you need and there is someone who is lacking the very necessities of human life,

it’s not really yours any longer. It belongs to the poor person. That’s what Ambrose says. You are not making a gift of your possessions to the poor because you have

more than you need. So it belongs to the poor who do not have enough. No one has the right to keep anything that is beyond your need when others lack the barest necessities

Remember it is a Gift
We have to begin to examine what we have that is in excess. Every one of us has the right to a full human life, so we don’t go and

sell everything, but we have to make sure that we avoid greed in every form, and that we are willing to share so that everyone on

this planet will have the opportunity for al full human life. Each of us has to begin to look into our own way of life, our own

attitudes towards material goods. Each of us has to consider, “Do I have more than I need for a full human life.
If so, it belongs to those who do not have enough.

Do we have to change our lifestyle? Perhaps we may have to. This is the wisdom of God. It is like a two-edged sword that goes deeply

into our being and challenges us, and the word of God, the wisdom of God, will be a judge of us.

If we follow this wisdom of God, we may not fear, for we will have full human life and we will also enjoy eternity with God. The Reign

of God will be ours if we follow the word of God, greed in every form, share what we have and change our ways of life so that everyone has a chance to share in what God has given to all, and not to a few.

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What do you have that you have not received? We have no reason to be proud; all we have, or are, or do, that is good, is owing to the free and rich grace of God. A sinner

snatched from destruction by sovereign grace alone, must be very absurd and inconsistent, if proud of the free gifts of God.

Life is a trust. It is a gift that God places in our care. And like any gift, it can be wasted or squandered. Or it can be used for the

purpose it was intended. The choices I make, how I spend my time, what I do with my energy and my influence and my finances.

That I put into my mind. Whether or not I live for self or something grater. It really matters. For with very gift comes responsibility.

Our Charge
We as individual and society are reminded that everything we have, possess, and whatever privilege we are invested with, is

nothing but a gift from God, the best giver and great provider and so must be used to His glory and the well=being of others. We must live every day mindful of the less

privileged and stand against all forms of selfishness, greed hardheadedness, and suppression.

We call on all Christians to appraise and review the level of our individual commitment to our Christian life. As God

continues to bless us with life, health, spiritual and financial gifts, we owe Him the duty of putting back these above all; God in

Christ has given us the gift of eternal life. We must make the most of this gift by offering ourselves to Him as a living sacrifice through devotion to Christ as lord

and savior and serving His church with our talent time and service. Let us use our God given position as Christians to show strong and godly leadership in our families, churches, workplace and nation.


Gracious God,Thank you for the gift of life and all its attending blsessings.Help us to appreciate every breath we take.Do not let us take your gift for granted.Help us to see your handwork in our lives.Amen..

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