Good Gifts

by Mike Kasdorf

Less than two weeks ago I was sitting on the sideline of my daughter's final spring soccer game. Between cheers and game-related commentary, the parents were discussing summer plans, sharing parenting insights, and taking turns to manage a couple of toddlers. The older and younger siblings were on a nearby field making up silly games and sharing Gatorade. Suddenly I found myself overwhelmed by an unexpected realization: we are incredibly blessed.

Eight years ago, Maureen and I were in the process of searching for a new house. We didn't know why, but we sensed God calling us to a particular area of Wauwatosa. However, as we found a home, settled in, and began a major home project, it became clear that we were not welcome in the neighborhood (a different story for a different day). Our dreams and expectations of being a force for Jesus in our neighborhood seemed to be on rocky ground. But one thing was clear: there was a lot of work to do.

So we decided to stay put and trust that we had truly heard God. We did our best to listen to His leading, take the opportunities He gave us, and keep on doing His work.

Over time, the neighborhood has evolved. As time has moved forward those that may have been unwelcoming before have softened or moved on, creating expanding circles of influence. Indeed, as we believed when we first moved in, there is a lot of opportunity to reach out with the love of Christ.

This brings us full-circle back to my soccer-sideline revelation: my focus on doing God's work had blinded me from recognizing His blessing.

Yes, God wants us to be his ambassadors to our communities, working for His glory, but  God also wants to bless us richly and bring us joy as we serve Him. He simultaneously “equips [us] with every good thing to do His will” (Hebrews 13:21), while providing for us above what we need or could ask for.

For a time, my mindset had me stuck thinking that God had given us ten families to work on. People to witness to. Souls to save.

In reality, He has given us 10 great sets of friends.

We are incredibly blessed.

Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! - Matthew 7:9-11