Encouragement for Today - March 6, 2006



Encouragement for Today


“Unexpected Gift”

Rachel Olsen, Co-Editor of Online Devotions, Proverbs 31 Speaker Team Member


Key Verse:

James 1:17, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” (NIV)



I’d never seen so many door prizes in my life!  I watched with amazement as beautiful package after package was carried to the stage for a door-prize give-away at the Christmas event where I was invited to speak.  The prizes ran the gamut… specialty coffees, bath and body products, scrap booking supplies, gift certificates to local restaurants… and then a small box was held up for the final drawing: a pair of genuine diamond stud earrings donated by a jeweler from the congregation.   Wow - one blessed lady went home with some extra bling that evening!


I always love to watch the ladies’ faces light up with excitement and anticipation when its door-prize-time.  I’ve spoken at events where the door prizes were many and grand, and also where they were simple and few.  No matter the scale or the cost, everybody enjoys receiving an unexpected gift.


Several years ago, I was deep in the trenches of daily life with two children under the age of four.   I counted it a good day if I managed a shower and a supper plan.   It was difficult for me to see beyond the next meal, much less the next week, month or year.   It was then that I received an unexpected gift: a pretty note card arrived in my mailbox, sent anonymously.  The card contained $40 in cash and a few hand-written words encouraging me to invest the money in my talents and calling.  At the time I wasn’t exactly sure what my talents and callings were, however, it was a powerful encouragement to know that someone out there – I still do not know who it was – saw potentional and believed in me enough to send that card.  It was a seed planted – a small but generous gift of money and encouragement – that has paid great dividends in my life and in the Kingdom of God.


My benefactor followed the commands of Paul in today’s key verse and in so doing, strengthened both of us for eternity.  The fact that my benefactor chose to remain anonymous made their gift, and the affirmation it brought, all the more compelling to me.  I don’t know if he or she still remembers sending that card, but it was an unexpected gift I will never forget. 


Now - as a speaker, a writer and co-editor of this daily devotional - I seek to give others the blessing my benefactor gave to me: encouragement for today, hope for tomorrow, and a sense of Godly worth.  These are the very same gifts our Lord so lovingly wrapped up for us at the cross of Calvary.   Share them with someone today.


My Prayer for Today:

Dear Lord, thank You for the gift of Your son, Jesus, Who both arrived and departed this earth in most unexpected ways.  I thank You that we don’t need a raffle ticket or to win some lottery to receive Your mercy and love, we only need to trust You with the hearts we already possess. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


Application Steps:

Looking with the Lord’s eyes today, see who around you needs hope, validation, or encouragement and find a way to bestow it upon them – anonymously.


Reflection Points:

Have you ever been the giver or receiver of an unexpected gift?   If so, how did it make you feel?


How can you anonymously bless someone around you today?


Power Verses:

John 13:15, “For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.” (NKJ)


1 Thessalonians 3:12, “And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all, just as we do to you.”(NKJ)


1 Timothy 6:18-19, “Tell them to use their money to do good. They should be rich in good works and should give generously to those in need, always being ready to share with others whatever God has given them. By doing this they will be storing up their treasure as a good foundation for the future so that they may take hold of real life.” (NLT)


Additional Resources:

Message of the Month Club



Living Life on Purpose, by Lysa TerKeurst



A Woman’s Secret to a Balanced Life, by Lysa TerKeurst and Sharon Jaynes



Originally published Monday, 06 March 2006.