I am lost before thee, Father! I will
claim of thee my birthright ineffable.
Thou lay’st it on me, son, to claim thee, sire;
To that which thou hast made me, I aspire;
To thee, the sun, upflames thy kindled fire.
No man presumes in that to which he was born;
Less than the gift to claim, would be the giver to scorn.
–from Diary of an Old Soul by George McDonald
We Claim Him by Alvin Rogness
God gives and gives and gives. He gives us himself, and with himself everything he has. However presumptuous this may seem, not to claim him and what he has is to rebuff him.
It is little wonder that it’s very difficult for us to believe this. The hard fact of our daily lives is that we pay for what we get. We pay for our salaries by our work. We pay for an A in school by our study. If we overpark our cars, we pay a fine.
That which blocks us out from God and his gifts is not primarily the sins of violence and sex (sins of the flesh), but unbelief. To brush off God and his giving as fantasy or nonsense is to insulate ourselves from much of his grace. He still gives us gifts such as life, food, shelter, health, family, and friends. But the vast treasures of his kingdom–love and faith and hope–are closed to us. Most of all, unbelief cuts us off from fellowship with him. A daughter who is in rebellion and rejection has turned from her mother may receive a check from her loving mother every month. But deep down, the daughter needs her mother more than she needs just a check.
Until we open that ourselves to life with God, we will be impoverished. And until we see that everything good in our lives is a gift from him, the gifts themselves will lack the aura they should have.
“Every good endowment and every perfect gift is from above” (James 1:17).
Alvin Rogness (1906-1992) was president of Luther Seminary, St. Paul, MN, from 1955-1974.