God’s Return Policy

by DanWolgemuth on December 20, 2013

“Thank God for his gift too wonderful for words!”  (2 Corinthians 9:15)

I saw the picture and it prompted the perfect plan.  Thirty-three years ago I saw a picture of a clock that I thought would be a great Christmas gift for my father-in-law.  I had recently enrolled in an adult education woodworking class through a local high school in Fort Wayne, Indiana, which simply meant that my aspirations were loftier than my skill.  It also meant that I had access to great equipment and expert coaches.

Multiple pieces of rough walnut were surface planed, glued, shaped and sanded.  Hours and days and weeks followed.  I located the necessary time piece components to add function to form and by Christmas morning it was ready. 

I loved giving this gift and my father-in-law loved receiving this gift.  The clock sat prominently in the family room on top of the television cabinet – it faithfully held up its part of the operational bargain by providing accurate time while Don religiously wound it every week. 

I never made another clock. 

None of us were ready for Don Cargo to pass away three years ago.  By nearly any measure he had lived a full and rich life… but his joy, generosity, love and optimism were irreplaceable. 

With Don gone, the walnut clock was packed and moved and thoughtfully shepherded to a variety of inconspicuous storage locations, most recently, our basement.  A couple of weeks ago as Mary was sifting through some boxes that had been delegated to her care, she came across the clock.  Wrapped, protected and in solitary confinement; it once again found the light of day. 

With the pendulum hung and the clock wound, it leapt into action as though it had been waiting to be depended upon again. 

It now sits on a library table within view of our reading chairs. 

This labor of love; this very time-consuming project; this joy-inspiring gift had now come full circle.  It was now a gift to me. 

Unlike the first time it was given, this time the clock came with images and memories… of a Godly and good man who carefully cradled the clock as he wound it.  Of a man who treated the gift with respect and care; perhaps imagining the day that it would be returned to me, its maker. 

I had given it without pretense.  He had cared for it as a steward. 

I live with the joy of knowing that the gift that I gave had been cared for in a way that makes it more beautiful today than the day Don unwrapped it.

Perhaps this is what God had in mind when He sent His son.  Perhaps this is what brings Him joy today.

His gift; our stewardship; and indescribable joy in return.

Merry Christmas.

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