The Gift That Keeps On Giving
I don’t know about you, but there have been times I have been totally stumped when it comes to knowing just what to give someone for Christmas. What do they really want? Can I afford to give them what I know they really want? Many years ago there were several movies about “giving” that centered around a short story by O Henry. The story was called “The Gift of the Magi”. It was about a very poor young couple who loved each more than words could tell. Being poor, neither could afford to buy what they would consider a “decent” gift for the other for Christmas. The young woman had beautiful hair that almost went to her knees – it was her most prized possession. Her husband had a gold pocket watch he could not use because he did not have a watch fob; nonetheless, the watch was priceless to him because it had been passed down to him from his father and grandfather. The wife decided to sell her beautiful hair to buy him a platinum watch fob so he could wear his watch. The husband decided to sell his prized watch to buy some expensive combs for her lovely, flowing locks. It was at dinner that night that they met up: wife with short hair; husband with no watch. They exchanged their gifts. Though it was true they could not use their gifts, the gifts that were given showed how priceless; how deep and how precious their love was for each other.
Mushy, huh? I hate to admit it, but I am not one who watches all the Christmas movies. I don’t even listen to that many Christmas carols! (No, I am not the Grinch who stole Christmas, but I am kind of a “action” flic kind of girl.) But, the lesson, the truth from this story has stuck with me for many, many years. What God wants; what our loved ones need… what we need to give to them is what is most precious to us: US! We first need to give God every aspect of our beings. When we truly do this, it will be much easier to give to those God places in our lives. We first must have our “vertical” relationship right, before we can expect to have healthy “horizontal” relationships.
Now what I just said is all well and good, but how do we, on a practical, everyday level give “us” to God and to others? Below, is an acrostic that I used in one of my recent Christmas sermons to answer that question:
Give everything to God… no “half stepping”. It is like the “Nest Tea” plunge… dive in – ALL the way in. We cannot afford lukewarm Christianity. My bible teaches me that the Lord would have us to be hot or cold. If we are lukewarm, He will spew us out of His mouth. (Rev. 3:16) There is no such thing as “half-way” Christianity – we need to be totally sold out!
- Romans 6:13 Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness.
- Romans 12:1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.
We must ignore the things of the world… don’t even look at what the world has to offer. We have to consciously say NO to the voices which surround us. I do not care what “society” now allows: sin is sin – and the Word of God does not change. If something was wrong yesterday, it is still wrong today!
- The bible also says to not give place to the devil: Ephes. 4:27 and do not give the devil a foothold.
- We are also NOT to enter the path of the wicked: Prov 4:14 Do not set foot on the path of the wicked or walk in the way of evildoers
We have to choose to walk by faith. It is as simple as that.
- Romans 1:17 For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed–a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”
- 1 Corinthians 16:13 Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong
- Hebrews 11:16 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him
- Think about the things we put our faith in that let us down: economy; relationships; our own strength. God is our ultimate source of strength. It is only God who will never leave nor forsake us; who will never, never let us down!
We need to be thankful. We will know if we are truly thankful by our actions and by the words that come out of our mouths.
- 1 Thess. 5:18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
- Psalm 136:26 Give thanks to the God of heaven. His love endures forever.
- Col 3:15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.
Lastly, we are called to serve! God has a plan and a purpose for each of us. It is our job to be who and what He has called us to be. We are not to try to be someone we are not. We are not to think that we have to do some incredible feat to accomplish God’s purpose. Rather, we are to surrender ourselves to His plan for our lives and serve in whatever capacity He has called us to serve.
- 1 Peter 4:10 – 11: Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 11If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen
- Matt 28:20 Even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.
I am sure this Christmas we will give and receive many gifts. May we give the One whose birthday we celebrate the gift He truly longs for: US! Merry Christmas and may your holidays be blessed.