He found the letter under a beautiful folded tablecloth. He asked her about the cloth and she invited him to look at it. He marvelled at the hand-made lace and the delicate embroidery. It was exquisite! It must have taken years to make.
She told him her grandmother had made it for her as a wedding present more than 50 years ago. She had never used it because it was so beautiful and she didn’t want to spoil it.
How sad! This cloth, painstakingly hand made for a much loved granddaughter, had been hidden away, preserved in immaculate condition but never used and enjoyed. I am sure the grandmother would rather see it with a few stains and repairs and know it had brought pleasure to the one she loved.
Maybe we can’t say the cloth was abandoned, because it was cherished – but it was unused and had lain useless for years.
The intention for which it was given was abandoned.
LESSONS FROM THE CLOTH
1. The cloth was a gift of love.
God gave us a Gift, that of His own beloved Son:
the most precious and costly Gift of all time
– not costly to us, the recipients, but extremely costly to the Giver.
Do we ‘hide away’ His Gift,
or do we share Him with the whole world?
Do we “display” Him so that others can see Him?
Are we quick to tell those we meet of the great love of our God
and the life-changing merits of the Saviour?
2. The cloth was meant to be used.
God also gave us gifts and talents to use in His service,
for the benefit of the Church.
The old saying
‘What on earth are we doing for heaven’s sake’
takes on new meaning
when we consider the power in gifts He has given us.
Do we use them to advance His cause on earth,
to His honour and glory?
What about the gift of being able to COMMUNICATE
and enjoy FELLOWSHIP with the great God of creation?
Do we delight to spend time with Him in prayer
and make it a priority?
Or do we put this gift away, thankful for it,
but only think about it in times of need or emergency?
Do we delight in using this gift all day, every day,
in every circumstance?
What about the gift of His Word?
His love letter to us speaks of the very heart of God
and His desires for us.
Do we spend time in it, allowing Him to draw us closer to Himself –
or do we leave it on the shelf?
Do we treasure, meditate on and memorise His Word –
and allow it to work in our lives?
Maybe we will assert that the gifts God has so freely given to us
are not abandoned.
OK, that is too strong a word to use.
However, they were given with a definite purpose.
They were given to be used, and used, and used.
They were given to achieve a purpose.
When I stand at the Judgement Seat of Christ
And He shows me His plan for me;
The plan of my life as it might have been
Had He had His way – and I see
How I blocked Him here, and checked Him there,
And I would not yield my will –
Will there be grief in my Saviour’s eyes,
Grief, though He loves me still?
Lord of the years that are left to me,
I give them to Thy hand.
Take me and break me and mould me
To the pattern Thou hast planned.
(Martha Snell Nicholson)