“Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.”
–James 1:17 (NLT)
“Well,” Ron sighed, “another Christmas has come and gone. I need to return those gifts the kids discarded.”
His head began to ache just thinking about it, “I bet a lot of people will have similar ideas,” Ron muttered to himself. “I can just see it now,” he thought with a groan. “The mall will be like a zoo. But I’ve got to get this done anyway.” Grabbing his car keys, he resolutely slammed the door.
“What a rotten day! I should be out playing golf on my day off. Why did I promise my wife I’d run these silly errands?”
As Ron pulled out of the driveway, still fuming, he got a telephone call that would change his life forever. The call registered as an unknown number on his cell phone. He usually let these unknown calls go to voice mail, but he had been expecting this call.
“Hello, is this Ron Anderson?” the caller asked.
“Yes, who is this?”
“This is Dr. Philip Cantrell from the emergency room at Community General Hospital.”
“Is it my mom?” Ron cut in, his heartbeat quickening with dread.
“Yes.” The doctor cleared his throat. “But I can’t go into any more details over the phone. All I can say is that you need to come down here as soon as possible.”
By the time Ron ended the call, he was in a state of shock. For several seconds he could only stare blankly at the phone in his hand. His mother had been slowly dying of cancer during the past few years, but that didn’t make this news any easier to hear now.
It took a few moments for Ron to regain his composure, but he soon backed out of his driveway. But as he drove along, he began reflecting on his life. With a pang of guilt, he thought about how he had been treating his wife and kids. How many times had he neglected to show his wife how much he loved her, or spend quality time with his children?
Now he was busy with a family of his own, but Ron had once been an only child. His father died when he was very young, and this event made him become extremely bitter. The troubled boy had run away from home many times, and he always had trouble fitting in with other kids at school.
In spite of this, Ron’s mother had always been there for him, and she had done quite well financially. But her son had only caused her grief, and Ron later invested most of the money she had worked to earn. He left her to pine away in a nursing home in another state, seldom visiting her.
Now, for the first time in years, all the things she had taught him began to unfold.
Ron had been an agnostic all his life. He had only been interested in climbing the corporate ladder, and thought his mother’s values were silly and outdated. But now he started to question his own values, and ponder the brevity of life.
All these questions began to take him on a journey along a road he didn’t want to traverse. These crazy questions were both uncomfortable and unimportant, weren’t they? Or were they really worth asking after all?
“I just don’t know,” Ron told himself, feeling uneasy. After forcing these thoughts from his mind, he mashed his foot down on the accelerator and continued onward.
Reaching the hospital in record time, he jumped out of the car and sprinted inside. After a breathless discussion with the triage nurse, Ron was shown to his mother’s cubicle. Dr. Cantrell was paged, and he soon arrived at Ron’s side.
“You can go in now,” he said gently. “Your mother is in a coma. She only has a few hours left. If you have anything to tell her, you’d better do it now.”
Ron nodded, and in slow motion he pulled back the curtain. He sat down in a chair by her bed and took her limp hand in his.
Upon feeling the calluses on her fingers, Ron’s mind turned again to thoughts of the loving God which she had told him about. Then his mind began to rebele, but his heart pricked him as he heard his mother whispering voice.
“My son, God’s ways aren’t our ways, and I have to go soon. But remember that we all go through painful times. Please don’t neglect the gifts which God has given you, Ron. In a small way, you can make this hurting world a better place.”
Then her eyes closed for the last time, as Ron pondered what she had just said. Then his mind returned to the presents which had been discarded by his children, and he knew that he had done the same thing with life’s gifts.
Kneeling by his chair in the hospital room, he began to sob. “God,” he whispered under his trembling breath, “please help me use the gifts you have given me, and show me how to glorify you instead of neglecting or discarding your offerings.”

In a way, all of us are like Ron. God has given us gifts that we can offer to others. Sadly, we often neglect to do this for several different reasons.
Here’s one thought: if you feel like a one-talent person, you may have convinced yourself that you have nothing to give. Satan would like nothing better than this, because nothing could be further from the truth.
Ask God in prayer to show you what your unique gifts are, and then go out into the world and use them. Today, I urge you to help others climb the mountain of life, while you reach towards new horizons.
Thank you for reading this, and may the Lord give you a wonderful week! We are trying to reach people who are hurting, so if God lays it on your heart, please consider becoming a partner with us. If you would like to make a donation, please visit www.hcmachaplains.org and click on the Donate Now link. You can also send donations by mail to HCMA (Healthcare Chaplains Ministry Association). Our ID number is 560. The address is 101 S Kraemer BLVD, Suite 123A, Placentia, CA 92870. Finally, you’re always welcome to join our Monday night Bible study or Tuesday night prayer meeting. Both are conducted by conference call, and they take place at 5:30 PM Arizona time. Our conference number is 712-775-7031, and our ID is 607518748. We hope to talk with you soon!
If you have questions, comments or prayer requests for Timothy or Stephanie Burdick, please call 507-369-6861.