What Did You Do With The Gift?

Christmas is one of the most popular, and busy, holiday seasons on earth.  People are planning special dinners and family get-togethers, shopping for last-minute gifts, putting the final touches on decorations and doing almost everything except remembering what the holiday is truly about.  I have no problem with all the various activities mentioned, and I truly enjoy the time when we celebrate the birth of the Saviour.  My wife and I are older now, so we don’t get as involved with it as we did when we were young, but we still enjoy watching others so involved with their family holiday activities.

When the hub-bub is all over, we are left with some great memories of family time, and lots of photos to view later so we don’t forget how wonderful it all was.  We are also left with cleaning up all the mess from gift wrapping, deteriorating Christmas decorations and  left over food.  And of course, we have all the gifts that were given and received.

What To Do With All These (Goofy) Gifts?

Now, to be honest, I have gotten some truly goofy  gifts over the years that made me scratch my head and ask: “Why would I ever want something like this, and what in the world am I supposed to do with this thing”?  When the head-scratching and brow-furrowing fails to produce a good answer, the gift usually finds its way to a spot in the attic or to  a drawer that is seldom opened.  I cannot always remember, but I would hope that, even though the gifts were a little strange, I still showed my gratitude for the giver’s effort.

Unfortunately, there were a few times when I met a person who gave me a gift (no memory of what it was!) and was asked: “I’ve never seen you wear that shirt; why not?” They may as well have asked: “What did you do with my gift”?  How embarrassing to be confronted with such a question.  Oops!

Good Gifts

However, I have received some really awesome and wonderful gifts that made my heart leap since they were exactly what I had long needed and wanted but did not purchase for myself, usually because of an exorbitant price.  After receiving those gifts, I was very thankful and, hopefully, tried to express that gratitude to the giver, sometimes successfully, perhaps, sometimes not.

If the gifts were something to wear, especially clothing items, they were worn often and shown off to all as an expression of my gratitude for having received them.  Admittedly, my tastes in clothing are very personal and limited, especially my choice in colors, so that even my wife stopped trying to buy clothes for me years ago.  So, for the most part, gifts I receive are items that can be used in other ways, hopefully.  When the gifts are so completely in tune with my needs and desires, you can be sure that they are used well and often, at least until they finally wear out, as most earthly items do.

However, once in a while, a gift will show up that fits the ‘what do I do with this’ category; so, off to the attic it goes!

What About The ‘Greatest’ Gift?

I try to show my thanks to God every day for the awesome and wonderful gifts He has given to me, the first of which is His Son, Jesus, the Saviour.  No gift EVER could surpass this in the “BEST GIFT EVER” category.  Man has inherently sought after the life that was previously his, and his ‘searching and striving’ has continued since the day in Eden when he was told he would surely die.  But try as he may, there was no way to get back the life that was forfeited during that rebellion against God.

God had spoken, on the day when he pronounced His sentence upon Adam and Eve for their rebellion, of His plan to send a Saviour to redeem mankind from his sadly fallen state, but he had to wait around 4000 years for the event to occur and occur it did when Jesus was born in the little Jewish town of Bethlehem.  Finally, the greatest gift that God had ever provided was given to us all.  The big question of how mankind would receive the gift was answered approximately 33 years later, when the religious Jews rejected Jesus and in collaboration with the Roman government, killed Him by crucifixion.  But that was only the beginning of the gift.  Jesus’ resurrection from the dead sealed the deal on God’s promise to give back the lost eternal life that was traded away so many years before.  From that point on, anyone who believed on Jesus and received Him as Lord, could once again look forward to an eternity in God’s presence.  After so many years when not even one human being on earth could offer one reason why God should help us, He did the unimaginable, He offered the most expensive gift that could ever be given, or received, and the cost to God was indeed exorbitant: the sacrifice of His own precious son, begotten by Him in absolute perfection and purity.  What a magnificent gift!

More Gifts Were Given

As the gospel began to be preached in all the regions of what we now call The Middle East, God began calling and equipping more of those who were to be given the privilege of announcing the Good News to the world.  God’s word calls those special people ‘gifts’ to the Body of Christ.  Paul describes them in Ephesians 4:11 as 1) apostles, 2) prophets, 3) evangelists, 4) pastors and 5) teachers; these five groups are to be considered ‘gifts’ to the whole Body of Christ, “for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ”.  If these are truly gifts that we, as the members of the body of Christ, receive, then we need to make sure we are using these gifts to the extent that God intended.  We need to allow them, and encourage them, to use the gifts they were given to complete the work of our edification.  What are the gifts given to them? 2 Corinthians 12:28, provides an answer: 1) apostles, 2) prophets, 3) teachers, 4) workers of miracles, 5) gifts of healing, 6) helps, 7) governments and 8) diversities of tongues. So, we see that some men and women throughout the church age were specially chosen and ‘gifted‘ with special abilities in their lives provided by The Holy Spirit.

Are There Other Gifts?

So, are these the only gifts that have been provided for us in our Christian walk?  Or are there other gifts that Christians have that can, and should be used and for which thankfulness should be expressed to God for them?

I have witnessed many men and women who have singing voices that, when used to glorify God, can move an entire audience, including unbelievers, to tears.  I have also seen and known many who were such amazing musicians that they can play their instruments under the power of the Holy Spirit and cause revival to start.  Even the world describes brilliant musicians and singers as ‘gifted’ people, meaning their amazing abilities were especially ‘given’ to them while most others have no such abilities.  When these gifts are given to those who eventually accept the salvation provided through the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus, are they not also gifts given to the whole body of Christ for our edification?  My firm belief is: YES, they are, and as such we should be thankful to God for them.

Since all ‘good and perfect’ gifts come from God (James 1:17 KJV), it should be understood that God expects us to use all such gifts to His glory and for the edification of the Church, the body of Christ.  It is a fact that, since God owns all things on this earth (Psalm 24:1 KJV) He has the right to expect that every person who receives a marvelous gift from Him will use that gift to eventually bring glory to God.  Unfortunately, many who are very gifted only use their gifts to seek fame, money and their own glory.

Conclusion

As noted previously, all who receive gifts, especially those that are given freely, in a spirit of love, should recognize what was received and express gratitude for the gifts, and ask for God’s guidance in using their gifts.

Every person ever born on this earth will, one day, stand before a perfect, righteous and Holy God and give an account of the deeds done in this life.  All will know that their fate depends on what they did with the gift of salvation from God through His Son, Jesus Christ.  Rejection of THAT gift will mean an eternity separated from God in a place so unimaginably horrible that even to contemplate it causes a man to tremble in fear and dread.

One of the most terrible scenarios that could be imagined is to stand before God at the judgment and when looking into the eyes that are a blazing fire, hear the question: “What did you do with your gift”?  Even worse would be to stand there and not have a good answer.  If you have not accepted the gift of salvation through the sacrificial act of Jesus, please do so immediately.  There is precious little time left before the Messiah comes in the heavens to receive His Church, His Body, to take them to heaven.  Do not wait, thinking there will always be more time.  No one is guaranteed one more second in this life.

If you have been given a gift from above, recognize where it came from and seek God’s guidance in using it in a way that gives Him ALL the glory!

Blessings!

budaroo@twc.com

©Bud Hancock. All rights reserved.

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