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The Gracious Giver

As I grow older, I find that I am less and less attached to material possessions. For life has a way of sorting out that which is valuable in one’s life. There is however one thing that I own that have dearly cherished for over 40 years. Let me tell you about it.

While pastoring in Moab, Utah, sometime in the mid-1980’s, I came across an ad in a magazine that caught my attention. The ad was posted by a documents dealer who had come into possession a First Edition 1611 King James Bible. The Bible itself was not in good condition. The outer covers and many of the outer pages had been ravaged by time and and mold and mildew and various critters that had chewed on it over the years. There were however pages that were undamaged. The dealer was offering these pages for sale. Something intrigued me about this offer, so I ordered a page.

All of the First Edition 1611 King James Bibles were large Bibles to be used as pulpit Bibles. The pages were 15 inches long and 10 inches wide. So, I knew that I was getting a large page and my plans were to have it framed for display. Since I had no way of knowing which pages were damaged and which were not, the page that I would receive depended on the luck of the draw. Not long after I placed my order that it arrived in the mail.

On the day that my page arrived, I was filled with the anticipation of a Christmas morning as I opened it. I was overwhelmed by the fact that I was now holding in my hand a document that was over 400 years old. As I began to examine both sides of this ancient page, I realized something that took my breath away. The page came from the Old Testament book of II Chronicles. When I saw that, my heart began to race. For my favorite verse in all of the Old Testament is found in II Chronicles. Could this page be chapter 16? To my amazement and delight, it was. I then turned the page over and there it was, II Chronicles 16:9. And here are the words that I read from old King James text, “For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show himself strong in behalf of them whose heart is perfect before him.”

For several minutes I sat in wonder and amazement, in awe of the fact that I was holding a 400-year-old piece of paper and blown away by the fact that printed on it was my favorite verse. Luck of the draw? I think not! This was the hand of God, giving to His child a very special gift. I came away from that day knowing that if God could see to it that that page was the one mailed to me, how much more did He care about the things in my life that really matter and were of eternal significance. Then these words penned by the Apostle Paul came to my mind, “If God is for us who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, how will not also with Him graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:31-32).

And today, many years removed from the day I received my 1611 King James Bible page, I still find Him the one who along with His Son, continues to graciously give me all good things. In fact, these words of the Psalmist come to mind, “For the Lord God is a sun and shield, the Lord gives grace and glory; no good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly” (Psalm 84:11).

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