When our children were first married, my wife, Karen, and I gave them anniversary gifts inspired by the list of traditional anniversary gifts: year 1, paper; year 2, cotton; year 3, leather; and so on. Somewhere along the line we lost interest. I do not think we ever got to iron, copper, bronze, tin, or steel.
Karen and I are currently enjoying year 44, so we are inching closer and closer to the big 5-0: gold! I can think of some things made of gold that might interest me, if for no other reason than the price of gold today! While we, as a family, have let go of the list, we still celebrate each anniversary. We have realized that neither the substance nor the value of the gift is as important as the giving.
This is the year of the big 5-0 for the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee (CRWRC). It’s their 50th anniversary in 2012. Think about it. Six hundred months ago, 2,600 weeks ago, 18,250 days ago, we began denominationally organized efforts to bring relief to the world in God’s name. That’s quite a milestone! And while this anniversary has come during each of the past 49 years, this year is special. How shall we celebrate? What “gold” shall we bring?
My anniversary gift list suggests that gold jewelry, cufflinks, watches, or even gold CD collections are appropriate gifts for a 50th anniversary. But it would be very difficult to give any such gift to an agency such as CRWRC. What would they do with a gold watch?
How, for that matter, does an agency celebrate an anniversary? Does this 50th anniversary have anything at all to do with a wedding?
The actions of CRWRC for the last 26,280,000 or so minutes have been the union of God's concern and ours.
I suggest that it does. The efforts that began some 438,000 hours or so ago were a result of the marriage of God’s love with ours. The actions of CRWRC for the last 26,280,000 or so minutes have been the union of God’s concern and ours. And that love, that compassion, is something not only to be celebrated and commemorated but perpetuated.
A gift is in order—not for us but from us. A gift of gratitude to the main agent in the partnership. A gift that continues and deepens and strengthens the relationship. A gift of “gold” would be quite appropriate.
Suppose you consider the “gold” of your time and ability and do some volunteer work through CRWRC this year. Suppose you give of yourself to celebrate the continuation of this union.
Or maybe your “gold” is the gift of ongoing prayer. Uphold and honor this partnership by regularly thanking God for initiating it and sustaining it. Speak to God often about how thankful you are for this ministry and how much you care about it because you know he cares even more. Honor it by lifting it up to God.
Or maybe your “gold” could be just that—something tangible of significant value. Maybe God has blessed you abundantly and you have enough to share. Your financial gift can provide food for the starving, clothes for the naked, shelter for the homeless, medicine for the sick, advocacy for the voiceless. Your gift can honor the union of God’s love and our efforts by enabling God’s loving arms to reach farther and touch more. This “gold” can make the marriage of God’s concern and ours even greater.
As my wife and I approach our golden anniversary, we look forward not to an object made of gold but to a celebration that demonstrates to our children and grandchildren and others our recognition that our relationship is valuable, most of all because it reflects and reveals the love of God. Let’s make this year that kind of celebration, not just for but with the CRWRC.