Summary: An encouragement to look to the Gifts of God in service to others.
Gifts Have a Purpose
Eph. 2:1-10; I Cor. 12:4-11
Well, I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas yesterday. My family and I spent the day at home, later going to another family member to spend the rest of the day.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank you on behalf of my family and myself for your love showered on us in the form of gifts, food, cards, and the like. You have made us feel welcomed and loved, and our heartfelt appreciation goes out to you.
We are going to take another look at gift giving this morning. We will focus mainly on two things: types of gifts, and the uses of gifts.
I think gifts can be broken down into 3 main categories:
Useless gifts such as those White Elephant gifts we discussed last week. By the way, did anybody get a white elephant gift this year?
Gifts that benefit the receiver for their personal enjoyment.
Gifts that the receiver can put to use, possibly for the benefit of others.
We will focus for a while on the last two, gifts that benefit the receiver for their enjoyment, and those the receiver can use to benefit others.
First, when I think of gifts solely for the enjoyment of the receiver, I can think of a number of things:
A new CD player and/or CDs
A new book – one of the best gifts my wife has ever gotten me was the complete illustrated Sherlock Holmes. I have read and re-read that volume of stories so many times I have lost count.
A piece of clothing that this person has wanted for a long time.
A full-size portrait of Joh Wayne – now some of you just shoved that item into the white elephant category, while others of us can think of loads of uses to have one of those around – although I must confess that none come to mind right now.
Flavored coffees and such
The point is, gifts like these are the kind you just enjoy. Sure, you can share and let others enjoy them, but the main idea is that they are to be enjoyed for the sake of enjoyment. And that’s okay!
We got my mother-in-law some Gaither videos of the Cathedrals. And my kids got me two, count ‘em, two, John Wayne movies.
Other gifts are the kind to be used in a different sense of say, that coffeemug you received with your favorite sports logo.
For instance, that new power tool is meant to be used to make things that serve some purpose, such as the cradle my dad made for my oldest daughter a number of years ago.
How about that new grill or punch bowl? It can be used to entertain in the home.
A new 4-wheeler can be used to facilitate chores around the farm.
A flashlight for the vehicle.
A microwave oven.
You see what I mean about the difference between the two types? Sometimes they overlap, but there are basic differences between the types.
Well, I think some you of you have seen through to my real intention today – to show you that God’s gifts to us are the same way. Some are for our benefit and to be enjoyed, and some are to be used. Did you know that?
What are some of the gifts God gives us for our enjoyment, or satisfaction, if you will.
Salvation – we can tell others about our salvation, but we can’t actually SHARE it, can we?
Same with the Holy Spirit.
The peace of God.
The goodness of God – Scripture says to taste and see that the Lord is good.
Lots of serendipities of life such as family and friends who love us, the warmth and encouragement they give us; watching your kids smile when you come in the door after work.
I’m sure that all of us can think of other things that I haven’t mentioned. Gifts from God that allow us to bask in His goodness to us.
But there are other gifts He gives us that He intends for us to USE.
Before we go on, I would like to preface my remarks with this: You may have noticed that I see my time with you as a chance to encourage you and urge you to deepen your walk with God and to witness for Him. Today is no exception. And I urge you to take my messages to be those of a friend who is excited about what God can do in and through you.
Our first Scripture this morning is from Ephesians, chapter 2. Please follow as I read the first 10 verses.