|Photo by James Petts 2013|
During the Christmas season and always, have you considered what gifts you will give your Lord and Savior Jesus Christ? What can we possibly give Him that could even come close to showing our appreciation for the greatest Gift ever given – God’s Son given that all who trust Him may have eternal life? (John 3:16).
His story proves that you can’t judge a gift from its wrappings. God the Father’s greatest gift to the world, His only begotten Son, destined to become the perfect sacrifice for all sins, and to return again to rule the universe in glory, was presented in a very humble way. He came as a helpless baby, born into a humble family, delivered in a lowly stable (Luke 2:7).
Just as the Wise Men of Christ’s day sought Him out and aimed to give Him their very best gifts (Matthew 2: 1-12), so do wise men and women of today seek Him and consecrate to Him their lives and the very best gifts they can offer.
You don't have to shop for these gifts, because He is the source of all good things (James 1:17). You won't have to go into debt over them, because you can't outgive God, and the more you give Him, the more blessings will flow back to you (Luke 6:38). They're always exactly what He would want and a perfect fit, as long as you're following His perfect will for your life. And you don't have to worry that they'll be returned -- you can be sure they will, as He gives back to you many times over all that you entrust to Him (1 Kings 17:10-16; John 6:5-13).
God judges our gifts to Him not on their greatness, because there is nothing that He needs from us. Anything we have is pitiful compared with His infinite wealth (Psalm 50: 7-12), and all that we have came from Him in the first place (James 1:17). Instead, He judges our motives, our willingness to trust all to Him, and the sacrificial nature of our gift (Luke 12:48; Luke 21:1-4).
If He has blessed us with talents, material wealth, or other resources, He requires us to be a channel through whom blessings flow, because to whom much is given, much is required (Luke 12:48). But even if others do not consider us blessed in worldly terms, we can please God with our giving. When Jesus saw the poor widow throwing two mites into the treasury (Luke 21:1-4), He praised her more than all the others because she gave all that she had.
The absolute amount or greatness of the gift we give Him is not important, but what matters is how much of what we have we give back to Him. He is pleased with sacrificial giving because it shows our trust in Him, our faith that He will give back to us in abundance.
A sinful woman broke open a costly alabaster box containing precious ointment – possibly her inheritance or dowry -- that she used to anoint His Head. Jesus promised that this lavish gift would always be remembered in Scripture (Mark 14:3-9)
Elijah, prophet of God, followed God’s direction and asked a widow to give him her last morsel of food. When she did so in faith, God provided for her daily (1 Kings 17). God always honors His promises to those who trust Him in faith.
A similar story of God taking a seemingly small gift, multiplying and magnifying it to do great good, then giving back in abundance, is the miracle of the five loaves and two fishes (John 6:5), in which Jesus feeds a crowd of thousands with only a little boy’s lunch that he willingly gave. The disciples use the reasoning of men, not trusting in God’s supernatural ability to provide.
But God wants us to demonstrate our faith – it is never a question of whether He is able, but of whether we have faith. No one goes away hungry, and there are 12 baskets full of bread left over, which must have gone to the little boy to feed his family and no doubt the apostles and even his whole village.
In this season of gifts, may we always remember and thank the greatest Giver and Gift of all time. The best gift you could possibly give to anyone on your gift list is to share the Gospel with them! You can give it freely to everyone without taxing your budget; one size fits all; and they’ll never need to return or exchange it. Christ – the perfect Gift -- is truly All that anyone needs!
The apostle Paul thanked the Philippian church for their generous gift to his ministry, even providing for him when he was visiting another church that should have been more hospitable! He assured them that their sacrificial gift would be like a sweet aroma to God and please Him greatly, and that God would supply all their needs according to His riches in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:14-19).
Note that Paul said God would supply all their needs, not all their wants. Sometimes we get angry or disappointed with God when He gives us what we need, rather than what we think we want. But His ways and thoughts are higher than ours (Isaiah 55:9) and He acts from the vantage point of perfect, infinite wisdom (Psalm 139:1-6), power, and love (1 John 4:8). He knows what we need even before we ask Him! (Matthew 6:8)
Note also that God will supply all our needs "according to," not "out of," His riches in Christ Jesus. It's as if you needed money to pay for the medical treatment of your sick child, and you happened to run into Bill Gates, who turned a sympathetic ear to your plight. You are hopeful that he might give you the money to pay the hospital bill "out of" his great wealth.
But what if instead he said, "Don't worry about the bill, because I am going to adopt both you and your child into my family. Then you'll have access to all my bank accounts and credit cards, you'll live in my mansion, you'll inherit my estate, and you'll dine at my family table." That would be supplying our need "according to" his riches, for we would be able to enjoy all of it.
Yet once we are saved by trusting in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) as the only Way to Heaven, our position in God's family is like, only on an infinitely greater scale. We become God's children and joint heirs with Jesus Christ, inheriting eternal, abundant life here on earth, and one day in glorified bodies in a mansion He has prepared us (John 14:2), living forever (John 3:16) in glorified bodies that will never age, feel pain or sorrow, get sick, sin, or die. We will enjoy His presence and that of our loved ones in Him throughout eternity!
May we give God what He has given us – our body, mind and spirit -- as a living sacrifice to His glory!
Hi Laurie, the gift I always want to give to our Lord is praise, trust and obedience to His Word to me. He, Himself was the greatest gift that God gave to this world, and whatever we give to Him can never surpass His gift to us. God bless you Laurie with all the gifts God has for us in Jesus.
Today's sermon at our church was about why we want to be generous and give to others. It's because God himself is generous. Often, we give, because we have the resources to give, but God wants us to be imitators of Jesus Christ, and since he was so good, so can we, under his power of the Holy Spirit in us.
Your illustration with Bill Gates is excellent, but it's only an illustration. As you say, if God is so infinite and his goodness so limitless, to be adopted into his family would be beyond fathomable.
Grace and peace to you and Richard.
Amen -- may we always give Him praise, trust and obedience. We can never repay Him for His precious gift of salvation through His shed blood, or the Father for giving His only begotten Son. May God bless you richly,
Praise God for His Holy Spirit within us showing us how to imitate Jesus Christ.
Amen -- no earthly wealth or family can compare with what God has given us in eternal life through His Son.
Thank you as always for your insightful comment. May God bless you and Alex,
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