James 1:17 - Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.
I like dominoes. Actually, I like watching one domino knock down the next domino which topples the next domino, well, you can see where that is going to go.
As near as I can tell, the same thing holds true in the affairs of humankind. One thing leads to another, which leads to another. Here's an example of what I mean:
Domino 1: In 2009 James Jones was the owner of the Allegro Music Center. In that year he rented a trumpet to a woman so her son, Jacques Ruffin, could learn to play.
Domino 2: The boy did well; the mother did not. She got caught up in the recession; she lost her job and became ill. The rented trumpet quickly became a luxury the financially strapped family could not afford. The mother indicated she needed to return the instrument to Mr. Jones.
Domino 3: Mr. Jones replied with the following letter:
"Dear Mrs. Ruffin,
I have decided to forgive the rent on Jacques' trumpet. You do not have to pay me any more for the trumpet. It is yours to play.
However, if Jacques drops out of band and stops playing the trumpet, will you return it to me so I can give it to some other deserving student?
I have been through bad times like you. But remember: Tough times never last, Tough people do.
Maybe, you can help some other student someday when times are better.
Jacques, who knew nothing of this interaction, recently found the letter. He was surprised at their family's financial condition, and overjoyed to find that Mr. Jones had been so kind.
Domino 4: He still plays the trumpet and is dedicating himself to raising money to rent and buy instruments for students whose families can't afford them.
Now this is the point in the devotion where I am supposed to tell you that you should be kind like the music store owner, Mr. Jones. I am supposed to encourage you to knock down the first domino and watch and see what the Lord does.
To be sure, a good devotion, maybe an excellent devotion, could be made by proceeding that way. But that's not the way we are going to go. We're not going to go that way because when I look at that story I don't see you playing the role of Mr. Jones, the music store owner.
That part, my friends, belongs to our Heavenly Father. He is the owner and giver of every good gift. If we have something worthwhile in this life, it is not because we deserve it, or have earned it; it is because He has given it to us.
So that leaves us with two more parts: Jacques and that of his mother.
Well, I can't let you be Jacques, can I? Jacques didn't know what was going on. He wasn't aware of what Mr. Jones had done. But Jacques' mother, she knew... just as you know. You know how the Lord, in His grace, gave His Son so that you might be forgiven and saved. It was a wonderful gift, one which you need to share with your children and all those around. And then, stand back and watch the dominoes fall.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, for every undeserved gift I thank You. In Jesus' Name, I give thanks. Amen.
The above devotion was inspired by a number of sources, including one written by Ben Hoper for the UPI on May 24, 2018. Those who wish to reference that article may do so at the following link, which was fully functional at the time this devotion was written: https://www.upi.com/Odd_News/2018/05/24/Viral-letter-reveals-Florida-music-store-owners-kindness/9011527180283/?utm_source=sec&utm_campaign=sl&utm_medium=20
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries