Gift Giving God
The other day Ellie and I went shopping for several relatives’ birthdays; not shopping online but to an actual store. First, we went to Ross for a few things and then we went to Ralphs to pick up gift cards. Now I know shopping online is much more convenient. You don’t have to fight traffic and deal with parking. It’s also much safer. You don’t have to wear a mask and fight the crowds. And it’s much more efficient. Online you can browse and make your purchase with a click of the button. With all that said, don’t you sometimes just want to see what you’re buying? Call it old school or old fashioned but depending on what it is, sometimes I need to touch and feel the merchandise. In addition, almost every shopping trip I take seems to get memorialized by our girls (they call the pictures “Dad vs. Ross” or “Dad vs. Costco,” etc.).
When it comes to shopping for presents, I’m pretty particular. I know that may sound counter-intuitive shopping at Ross (sorry Ross fans) or picking up gift cards, but, when it comes to gift giving, I usually have something in mind (no not Piggy Pops (see picture)). How about you? Do you like giving gifts? I know it’s the thought that counts, and sometimes we think that it’s not worthwhile because all we’re doing is exchanging stuff with each other, but in a relationship gift giving can play an important role. I think I’m a decent gift giver. I usually take the time to think about the other person, what they need but also what they like. I think about how the gift would be received and what it says about the relationship. I’m sure you do too.
However, God is the best gift giver of all. Isn’t He? In fact, He’s really the only gift giver. James 1:16-17 says “Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” This is a pretty comprehensive statement. It says every gift, every generous act, is from God above though it may come through others. When you receive a gift from someone, when you get something you don’t expect, when someone else does you a favor, you should not only thank that person but also thank the generous hand of God because He initiated it! I have been on the receiving end of that equation so many times. Case in point, for months now somebody has anonymously been sending our family Target gift cards which help with various supplies and necessities. We are so thankful for that person’s love and generosity; and although we don’t know who it is, we know it is God working through them. The act of giving and receiving is something we as Christians should be familiar with and have great respect for. It is part of God’s nature and His kingdom.
Just think of some of the things God has given us. He has given us our physical lives. Psalm 139 says that He knit us together in our mother’s womb and that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. He has given us gifts and talents. I Corinthians 12 says that He gives us unique spiritual gifts for the common good, to bless and edify one another. James 1 says that He grants us godly wisdom when we ask for it in faith. II Timothy 3 says that He has given us His Word for teaching, correction, and training in righteousness. Though we may take them for granted sometimes, God has given us our family and friends. Psalm 68 says that He is a father to the fatherless and sets the lonely in families. But most importantly, God has given us (or offered us) eternal life through the gift of His Son. John 3:16 says “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
Oh yeah God is a gift-giving God! He thinks about what you and I need, what will bring us joy, and what expresses His great love for us. Do not overlook His love and compassion whether it be through others or directly to you. God sees and cares. But most of all, do not neglect the gift of His Son Jesus, the greatest gift of all. Receive Him, follow Him, and trust Him as Lord and Savior, and you will not be disappointed.