O. Henry was a master of short stories with unexpected endings. The Last Leaf, published in 1907, tells the story of a young woman dying of pneumonia. Her friend, an old artist, painted his “masterpiece”—a leaf on the ivy plant outside the young woman’s window. This leaf gave her a hope, a will to live and to overcome her fatalistic notion that she’ll die when the last leaf is carried away by the winter wind. Only when the woman recovers does she find out what a gift of love her friend had given her. And in a typical O. Henry twist, she also finds out that the artist had caught pneumonia while painting the leaf in the cold and died.
This tale, as well as countless others in literature and through history, echo the biblical narrative of God’s gift of love and salvation. This month in Today in the Word we’ll read about God’s gifts: His divine wisdom, His creation, His hope, and His faithful provision. We’ll thank Him for giving us His Holy Spirit and the gifts of the Spirit that equip us for ministry. And above all, we’ll praise Him for the gift of eternal life and the ultimate gift of His Son who gave His life on the cross.
We pray that God’s gift of sacrificial love will fill you with gratitude and hope this month. Thank you for using Today in the Word as a Bible study guide. Thank you for supporting this ministry!