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My Best Gift

By Mrs. Tiffany E. Grant King

Sunday, December 18, 2022

About the author — Tiffany Grant King is engaged in overcoming challenges in our education system and replacing barriers with opportunity for all young people.  Tiffany encourages everyone to use their voice, remove barriers and systems, and take reasonable risks that drive change, educate and influence. She enjoys creating and promoting opportunities that transform the lives of the next generation in Oakland and beyond and serving as the Community Connection Leader at her church – Memorial Tabernacle Church, where her husband, Ulysses Stephen King, Jr., is the Senior Pastor.  She is originally from Sumter, South Carolina and lives in Oakland, California.

(This article was given as a word of encouragement by Tiffany E. Grant King at Memorial Tabernacle Church (CHSC), Sunday, December 18, 2022 to the general congregation on Women’s Sunday.[i])

John 3:16 (NIV) says, “For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” 

  • For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. – The Measure of Love         

How do you measure love in your life? Is it by material appreciation? Verbal confirmations or sayings? Love, by definition, is both a noun (a display or demonstration; an intense feeling of deep affection), and a verb (an action; feel deep affection for…). 

My husband often uses me in his sermons as he describes my expectations of how I want to see him demonstrate love towards me. The way he receives love is different from how I receive love, but love exists. Love between two persons is unique. Love is not always experienced in the same way. True love is experienced once you understand how another gives and receives love. 

  • For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. – God Gave Someone He Loved

God’s love for us was the ultimate sacrifice. God’s love didn’t require, request, or even suggest the “okay” or alignment of the sacrificial lamb, His Son Jesus. God’s love for us was established by His belief in His creation. Pause and think about that. You are God’s creation.  I am God’s creation. 

When God created each of us, He knew:

  • We needed support through the trials.
  • We needed encouragement through the challenges. 
  • We needed strengthening in our places of weakness. 

Yesterday we had the awesome opportunity to share God’s love in our community outreach event: Candy Cane Lane Celebration[ii].  We entered into the celebration with great anticipation and expectation.  We verbally articulated that we desired 100 young people to experience what we designed in only a few weeks.

Our neighborhood schools were invited.  Flyers were distributed by community resource partners, and invitations were sent electronically.  I chuckled at the team’s conversation Friday evening (before the event took place on Saturday) while we were doing our final setup. I smiled and said, “If one child comes . . .” Meaning that if only one child came to the event, we were successful. Although we did not reach 100 children, we did reach one: then, one, plus, one, . . . plus, one, . . . plus, one, . . . and so on.

The residuals of our obedience we cannot see or measure at this time, but we continue to trust, have faith, believe, and just continue to let God work.  1 Corinthians 16:14 says, “Do everything in love”.  I repeat this to myself all the time because if what I do was based on my feelings, emotions, actions—and how others engaged with me—I would not serve nor be able to do so with a smile on my face. 

One of our potential community partners joined us yesterday with her daughters. She commented to Pastor and I that yesterday was the first time she felt genuine love from a church. She made this observation in her brief moments while sharing with us before the celebration had even begun. Each of you that were present were an expression of God’s love, and it is my prayer that we continue to offer it to each person we encounter.  

God gave us the opportunity to connect with nine new souls yesterday to share and demonstrate His love for them through us. How awesome is that?

The apostle Paul taught the church at Colossae that, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward.  It is the Lord Christ you are serving” (Colossians 3:23-24).

Through the Candy Cane Love Celebration, we serve Christ.  

Through our fourth Sunday Prayer Booth, we serve Christ. 

Through the simple act of speaking to someone while shopping in the store, we serve Christ. 

Two weeks ago, I was in the Dollar Tree on Gilman hunting down red pool noodles to make candy canes for the celebration. While walking down the aisle, a lady was playing music from her cellphone on speaker. She was playing Dorinda Clark Cole’s song, “I’m Still Here”.  A few of the lyrics say, 

“When I look back over my life
And I see all the things the Lord’s brought me through;
Been through trials, sickness, and suffering
I thank the Lord, He’s blessed me still

I could have lost the faith
And I could have fell from His grace
Now I can say, that I’m still here
And it’s by the grace of God”

I look up at her—smiling through my COVID face mask—and said, “You’re taking it way back with that one.”  She looked at me with all seriousness and said, “Sometimes its songs like this that helps you get through these moments.”  I didn’t need to know the moment she was experiencing, but our eyes locked in agreement until one of her kids turned her attention away to ask for something. But before she walked away towards another aisle, she turned and looked back at me and said, “Thank you!” Our moment together was less than 15 seconds, but she knew that I saw her. 

When was the last time you paused to see someone? When was the last time you allowed yourself to be seen by another? God wants to use us, and to use you and I for greater things. The world is in need of your pause, your encouraging word, your flashback memory of a song, your response that demonstrates to them that they can make it. Choose to be seen and used by God.  I dare you. 

  • For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.  – Eternal Life

Do you know why I am always looking for ways to promote and educate our church and community on mental wellness?  It is because of what we are reminded of in 1 Peter 1:13 which says, “Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at His coming.”

There is nothing like God’s grace, and I am so far looking forward to that Day, for His return!  In the meantime, continue to show His love.  This world puts spotlights on the worse of the worse, but His light still shines through the darkness. Our hope is in knowing—because of God’s love for us, and His Son’s obedience to Him—that we have access to eternal life. 

In this knowing, in this hope, I can smile. I can continue to serve; I can continue to persevere regardless of what is or is not happening around me.  I encourage you to do the same.  Fix your eyes on eternity. See it in the distance and do not let anything make you miss heaven.  

The journey to get to eternity is not a straight road with signage on where to turn, but trust that He has a plan, and trust in His love, His genuine love for you. 

So, what is my best gift? God’s love. And it is because of His love that I genuinely love each of you—those I have met and those whom I have yet to meet virtually and in person.  Allow others to experience love every time they encounter you.  An encounter can transform a life, shift a decision, and save a life. Let God’s love be seen through you; love is still the answer to make it through.

Pastor (King) shared our theme for 2023, to kick off our Annual Consecration and Fast next month: “All Things New”. With January also being Mental Wellness Month, let’s be intentional to integrate our spiritual, physical, and emotional health during this season. You do not exist alone. We exist together.  We exist as community. We exist and are connected because of God’s love. 

So today, I thank you God for giving us the best Christmas gift ever — a Savior, Jesus Christ, our Lord.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only son, that you and I we might live.

[i] This speech may also be seen on YouTube at Memorial Tabernacle Church

[ii] This event took place in our Fellowship Hall, Saturday, December 17, 2022.

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