Summary: What do you get for the person who has everything? It is the nagging question everyone faces when buying gifts. But, God has told us what kind of gifts He would be pleased with.
OPEN: Tom and Joe had been high school buddies, but when they grew up, Joe left town to find his fortune. He became a very successful salesman, but never married. One day, he returned to his hometown and met Joe in a local restaurant. They exchanged stories of how their lives had changed over the years and Tom explained that he too had been successful, had married and had 3 kids.
“That’s great,” Joe said. “I’d like to come over and meet the family.”
“We’d love to have you,” Tom responded. “I tell you what, we live in a Condo over on 3221 High Street. You just drive around back to the parking lot, come up to the main door and kick it open with your foot. When you get to the elevator, push the button with your left elbow and come up to the 2nd story. That’s where our apartment is.”
“That’s great,” Joe said. “But I’m a bit puzzled. Why would I want to kick the door open with my foot and push the elevator button with my elbow?”
Tom looked astounded: “You’re not coming empty handed are you?”
This past Christmas, I drew my brother’s name for our family Christmas gathering. My brother is kind of hard to buy Christmas presents for. He has just about everything he needs and what he doesn’t have, he can pretty well afford to buy.
What could I buy this Christmas that could possibly mean anything to him?
Then I remembered a story that had been told in our family several times in the past. When Jack was a young man, he had owned a compact car - an Austin Healey Sprite which he had taken apart, moved down to his basement and cleaned up. Then he took all the parts back up stairs and reassembled the entire car in his front drive.
He only had a couple of parts left over.
That gave me my idea. I began to search for a model car replica of the Sprite. I finally found one on the Internet for about $5. And I wrapped it up for his Christmas.
When I bought it, I knew I had found the perfect gift for the man who had everything.
APPLY: Why would I think that’s the perfect gift? I mean it wasn’t an expensive present. It wasn’t even a particularly impressive model car. And my brother could easily have afforded to purchased it for himself. BUT I knew he would like it. Why? (pause) Because I gave serious thought to the gift. In that gift I declared that he was important enough to me for me to THINK about what he would like.
I. We are entering the Christmas season, a time when we buy gifts for our loved ones
But Christmas… isn’t there a special reason for this season? Isn’t this season supposed to be a special birthday celebration? Whose??? (Jesus) Well, if it’s a birthday celebration for Jesus… don’t you usually get presents?
What Christmas present did you have planned to give Him this year?
AND what could you possibly give to Jesus that He doesn’t already have. What do you get for the God who has everything?
II. Well, back in the Old Testament – they gave Him sacrifices
Now, there were sacrifices you HAD TO give (required of you) and there were sacrifices (or gifts) you gave because you wanted to. One of those voluntary gifts was called the grain offering.
This was different than most of the sacrifices God received because this one was NOT an offering of a sacrificed animal.
Instead, it was an offering of fine flour mixed with oil & incense. If it was cooked, it was NOT allowed to have yeast in it. A portion of the offering was burned up before God and the rest belonged to the priests.
ILLUS: One scholar (Treasury Of Scripture Knowledge) has noted that the Hebrew word for “grain offering” was “minchah” which meant it was a “reciprocal gift.” In other words, the offerer was “reciprocating” or paying God back for His blessings.
(pause) But of course you couldn’t really “pay God back” anymore than I could have bought my brother a gift he couldn’t afford. But this “minchah” was a way of saying to God – “I know what you’ve done for me, and I want to show you a small token of my love and gratitude for you.” It was - in essence - a thanksgiving offering And THIS was the kind of gift that pleased God immensely.
III. Now, we’re no longer Old Testament people
We don’t live under the Law. We’re not required to offer sacrifices and special offerings at the temple. And so offerings (like the grain offering) wouldn’t be appropriate for us anymore
BUT, we can still offer a “minchah” type of offering - a sacrifice that is pleasing to God. And book of Hebrews tells us what those kind of offerings would look like: