THE PERFECT GIFT

By: Darrelyn L. Tutt

Jonathan:

Challenging, inspiring, knowledgeable.
Mentor, friend, literal walking commentary.
Commonality of love for God and Scripture drew us together: two invisible magnets.
30 years my senior, many years back, played a pivotal role in my spiritual life.
Hours spent together; dissecting, pouring over Scripture;
Questioning, wondering, studying, pondering …
Profoundly and soundly influenced.
Loved him.
A spiritual camaraderie unparalleled to other relationships.
~~~
Necessary fact: Jonathan is blind.
Also … fiercely independent, strong, unswervingly Baptist, a little proud,
dogmatic in doctrine, extremist.
Notable achievements:
Seminary degree, marriage, three children, preacher, evangelist. 
~~~
His handicap; a triumphant virtue.
An exhilarating extraordinary individual who….
Inspires, challenges, calls out, stretches me as nothing and no one else.
Live out your life and not an excuse.
Jonathan – Honored, admired companion in my life.
Set apart from others.
~~~
Jonathan’s 67th birthday approaches.
Begin my search for the perfect birthday gift.
Find it!
Well-read, well-written book,
a personal favorite:
“THE PURSUIT OF HOLINESS”
Respected author: Jerry Bridges.
Invest hours; read aloud on tape.
My voice, my time; the perfect gift.
~~~
Happy Birthday, Jonathan!
The gift;
extended and received.
Mutual delight exchanged.
Special day celebrated.
~~~
The morning after;
phone call.
Unfamiliar, concerning voice; 
Almost unrecognizable … Jonathan … ?
~~~
The perfect gift;
Not so perfect anymore.
Book is heresy,
thoughts unbiblical,
author evil.
My faith is questioned.
Kick in the gut.
Ouch!
~~~
My superior, Jonathan, disqualifying … me.
Caught off guard:
Hurt, sad, defensive, mortified.
Won’t let up.
I choke up; lump in my throat, cry.
Pause … quiet.
He’s come on to strong; knows it.
Fumbles with words….
looking for closure.
Finally speak,
“Maybe tomorrow,” I say quietly.
“Let’s not talk until tomorrow.”
~~~
Every tomorrow thereafter:
The same.
Can’t let the “book” thing go.
Heresy, doctrinal issues, theology.
And ….
The perfect gift divides hearts.
Two independent minded individuals now;
two separate ways.
Jonathan says the book must go.
I say the book will not.
Jonathan deems this an impassable chasm; a great doctrinal divide which paves the way to a relational divide.
Never the same.
~~~
Friend Jonathan:
Admirable, challenging, inspiring.
Facts remain unchanged.
So does my love for him.
Priceless, needed spiritual influence.
Eternally grateful.
~~~
A perfect gift initiated the perfect storm;
And God’s hand was perfectly part of it.
In hindsight … a severe dependence on him was being unwisely developed.
Sometimes this happens.
Distress experienced initially, internally, temporarily, 
in that relational "break,"
paved the way to development of deeper faith,
defense of the scripture,
diligence to attend to spiritual matters
with a healthier reliance upon the Lord and His unchanging word.
In the end ....
Jonathan was not the recipient of the perfect gift.
I was.
~~~
“Iron sharpeneth iron, so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.”
Proverbs 27:17