OUR GIFTS TO CHRIST
Scripture: Psalm 116:12
The greatest gift ever made was by God himself in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ. We read of it in what is called the golden text of the Bible: "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).
Not only did God give His Son but the Son gave His life, and we are reminded in our Lord’s own words, "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13).
Quite obviously, God is a giving God, a loving God, a God of mercy and grace. How marvelous indeed are His expressions to each of us!
Normally, in human terms, when we receive a little gift from some friend or loved one, at Christmas or on a birthday, we like to show our appreciation. But so glorious indeed are God’s mercies that we overflow with thanksgiving and Join the psalmist in our text, asking, "What shall I render unto the Lord for all his benefits?"
Our blessings from God are so numerous and so rich that we are made to testify as the Apostle Paul, "0 the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!" (Romans 11:33).
What we can give to God is small, so very small, when compared to what He has given us; nevertheless, we must not fail in presenting our gifts to Christ. Let us now give consideration to four gifts we can render unto Him.
Even in human terms, love is the greatest of gifts. More words are written on love, more stories are told about love, more people are inspired by love than any other subject in human language. It is the constant theme of our novels, our TV dramas, and our human aspirations.
It is surely significant that Paul lists love as the first manifestation of the fruit of the Spirit: "love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance" (Galatians 5:22).
Important as well is the fact that love is twofold, reaching first toward God and then toward our neighbors. When asked of a lawyer, "Which is the great commandment?" Jesus answered, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind" (Matthew 22:36, 37). This is the first and greatest commandment, Jesus said, but the second is related, "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself" (v.39).
Adam Clarke puts it succinctly, "Our Lord shows us that the whole of true religion is comprised of us loving God and our neighbor."
All gifts are worthless and unacceptable unless accompanied by, and given from, a heart of love. True love has no limitations, no boundaries. Love cannot be purchased; it is always freely given.
No wonder the Scriptures place so much emphasis upon our love for God.
Along with our love-in fact, in full confirmation of our love-we must give ourself as a vessel for His use. Paul writes, "I beseech you therefore, brethren by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living’ sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God" (Romans 12:1).
In light of all His great gifts to us how can we do less? Paul faced this question, adding the observation that such is our "reasonable service."
When a young man enters the army, he is trained and schooled in the hardships of military life. He holds none of his strength in reserve. He gives all. Our spiritual Commander, Jesus Christ, calls today for those who will bring all their powers into subjection and serve without reservation in the army of the Lord. There has never been a time in history when the cause of righteousness needed consecrated people more than it does today. Let us yield ourselves unto the Lord (2 Chronicles 30:8).
What better gift to bring to Christ than a yielding of our total selves to His will, saying with the Apostle Paul, "Neither count I my life dear unto myself" (Acts 20:24). Unless He is Lord of all, He is not Lord at all.
Thus we offer ourselves-a gift unto Christ.
The wise men who saw Christ’s star, upon the occasion of His birth (Matthew 2:1-12), present a lesson in loyalty worthy of note. Not only did they pursue their journey with diligence, against great odds, but they refused the bribes of an earthly king, their loyalty firmly anchored in God himself. Others were unseeing, others refused to believe, but the wise men grasped a promise. They clung to God’s Word.
We will never find Him, or serve Him, if we do not believe His Word.
The wise men were not satisfied just to find Him and leave. They recognized His divinity and they worshiped Him reverently, whom even angels bow before: "Let all the angels of God worship him" (Hebrews 16) and of whom David wrote, "Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness" (Psalm 29:2).
What is more, they verified their love and worship through presentation of gifts-gold, frankincense, and myrrh, some of earth’s most valuable treasures. They gave to Christ their very best.
We must do no less. Christ must be first in our life.
In one form or another we each have special and unique talents. Our talents are not the same. They may not be equal In number or variety, but they are gifts, or graces, from the Creator and we must consecrate them to God.
When Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was a young man, he expressed himself in a letter to his father: "I am not sure as yet for what my talents fit me, but I am determined to be eminent in something."
I truly believe God has endowed each of us with capacity, with potential, with talent to become eminent in something. That eminence may not appear to men of this world but it will certainly register on God’s perfect scale of values. The beautiful thing about giving what we have-our talents-to God Is seen In what they then become under His leading and the direction of His Holy Spirit. Every Christian soon discovers himself, in the power of Christ, doing more and becoming more than he is personally capable of doing or becoming.
Paul wrote to young Timothy, his son In the Lord, "Neglect not the gift that is In thee" (1 Timothy 4:14). Nor must we either neglect our gifts or use them selfishly. Life Is more than earthly existence, more than that which Is presently seen: It is also the laying up of treasures In heaven. If we use our talents for His glory, we will have the smile of God upon us in this life and, at death, we will hear Him say, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord" (Matthew 25:21).
All we have and all we are comes from God. "In him we live, and move, and have our being" (Acts 17:28). Therefore, let us rejoice and be glad, serving Him to the best of our ability every day.