"For it is in giving that we receive." -St Francis
On coming to the house, [the Magi] saw the child with his mother Mary,
and they bowed down and worshiped him.
Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts
of gold, frankincense and myrrh.—Matthew 2:11
One of my favorite TEDtalks is Sir Ken Robinson’s “Do Schools Kill Creativity”. He tells this humorous kids-will-be-kids story:
When my son was four in England — actually he was four everywhere, to be honest. If we’re being strict about it, wherever he went, he was four that year. He was in the Nativity play. Do you remember the story? No, it was big. It was a big story.
Mel Gibson did the sequel. You may have seen it: “Nativity II.” But James got the part of Joseph, which we were thrilled about. We considered this to be one of the lead parts. We had the place crammed full of agents in T-shirts: “James Robinson IS Joseph!” He didn’t have to speak, but you know the bit where the three kings come in. They come in bearing gifts, and they bring gold, frankincense and myrrh. This really happened.
Anyway, the three boys came in — four-year-olds with tea towels on their heads — and they put these boxes down, and the first boy said, “I bring you gold.”
And the second boy said, “I bring you myrrh.”
And the third boy said, “Frank sent this.”
Kids make sense of things on their own terms. They hear what make sense to them and with no filters or shame just blurt out what they hear. “Frankincense” doesn’t make sense to a four-year-old, so the kid does fast work of interpreting the gibberish into, “Frank sent this.” We think it's cute, recognizing the innocence in all of this, and laugh. But if we listen we can hear the out-of-the-mouth-of-babes wisdom behind, “Frank sent this" and come to realize the four-year-old has a point.
The Christ-Child is worthy of a gift from Frank too. Isaiah's Emmanuel and Prince of Peace is deserving of a gift of gold or myrrh as well as anything that Frank wants to give. The Savior is not selective in what gifts he will receive. This glorious Star of David is not demanding or difficult to please. And here the four-year-old gets it right. The other two actors put the emphasis on the gift--gold and myrrh. But the last boy puts the emphasis on the giver--Frank. We are not even sure what Frank has given, we just know that the gift is from Frank.
So . . .
Thank you to all of those messengers willing to make the arduous journey just to represent the indisposed, the paralytics, and the impoverished and remind us that there are some Franks who send gifts too.
For all those who cannot make the journey due to physical hardship, having to work graveyard shifts, or just not having a travel budget . . . “Frank sent this!”
For all those who cannot go in person, but go in purse, who cannot be present but send a present . . . “Frank sent this!”
For all those who refuse to make excuses as to why they can’t give something . . . ”Frank sent this.”
For all those who plan their gifts with care, UPS them with love, and offer them in worship . . . “Frank sent this.”
Everyone has something to offer, even Frank. That’s why Frank sent this!
2017 was a fruitful year in the life of Lighthouse. We were here with men and women recovering from substance abuse. Congratulating those who added another day, month, year to their “clean and sober” resumes. We were here with the young and old who reclaimed their lives in baptism with Christ. Even those who came up spontaneously and joined in the celebrations. We were here with parents dedicating their children to Christ. We were here with couples dedicating their lives to each other. We were here with those who lost mothers and fathers, grandparents, and siblings and even best friends. We were here showing people the way forward in forgiveness, the way present with grace, the way to be moved by the Whisper, and enter the flow of Milk and Honey. We were here, another year, in the City following Jesus as we have done year in and year out.
But something really new for us this year was what happened in Nepal. We followed the Spirit to Kathmandu and discipled a band of women who had experienced prostitution, children and youth who had been destitute and saw a church birthed and a pastor raised up. We baptized over 22 in Kathmandu this year and are partnering to raise up a generation of justice-seekers and Christ-followers.
When we approached 2017 we had no clue the Spirit was going to lead us on such incredible adventure. We had no way of knowing how the Spirit would use us to bless the Kingdom of the Christ Child in Bangkok at Pastor Sirina’s Empowering Covenant Church, or how he would use us to bless Iven and Kashmira who work by the King's Palace in Bangkok or the pastors and church planters in Ho Chi Min City or with Karuna Care and Nepal Lighthouse in Kathmandu. But the Spirit knew and the Spirit directed us, and as I stood their teaching, praying, giving monetary gifts, baptizing, strategizing, prophesying and encouraging the faithful I did this with a “Frank sent this” spirit.
As we come to a close of 2017 we need $25,000 to balance out our budget for the year. Would you put together a meaningful gift right now? And do it with a “Frank sent this” heart?
Ways to Give
A. Online Giving Here
"San Francisco Lighthouse"
1337 Sutter Street,
San Francisco, Ca 94109
C. Text Your Gifts: Give thru your mobile device by texting “give” to 669.900.1084
D. InPerson: This Sunday