The Giver is the ultimate gift
Doug Rumbold · Nov 29, 2017
Gifts are wonderful.
When given at just the right time to an individual who least expects it, gifts can make a deep impact on one's life. They are tangible expressions of love which convey, without provocation, the sentiments of the giver to the recipient. In fact, the very definition of gift communicates this very clearly: a thing given willingly to someone without payment; a present.
I will never forget one particular Christmas when I was a young boy. I wanted a BB gun so bad I could taste it. Those pesky pigeons and barn swallows were about to meet their fate.
The gifts were wrapped and under the tree. What harm could there possibly be in just “bumping” the edge of the gift marked with my name in order to find out if I had gotten what I wanted?
Now that I have my own children, looking back on this episode causes me to reflect on how parenting doubles as training 101 for would-be detectives and law enforcement officers. My father was a decorated veteran of the program. He spotted the tear in the wrapping paper caused "by accident," and I was not awarded the gift for two weeks following Christmas.
A funny thing happened to me internally in the days that followed as the punishment was enacted. Though my parents were under no compulsion to give me the gift, I now was upset with them for having taken it away. Their tangible expression of love, simply because I was their son, was met with juvenile anger and a real sense of entitlement that simply had to be addressed.
We react this way to God, don't we? We can so easily fixate on His gifts to us that we forget that He is the Giver. This is the life from God posture. We are totally interested in what God has to offer, just not so much in God Himself.
Author Skye Jethani says it this way,
Everything that lives draws its life from God, and He is the “Father of lights” from Whom comes “every good gift and every perfect gift” (see James 1:17). And Jesus calls us to ask God for what we need. But the life from God posture has a tendency to overemphasize this single aspect of the divine-human relationship. It makes receiving God’s gifts the entirety of our religious lives.
He's absolutely right.
In His kindness, God has lavished His love on us (see Ephesians 1). It would be a tragedy for us to miss the Giver because we are preoccupied with His gifts.
I’m reminded of a recent sermon illustration I heard. A young boy loved spending time with his father on their farm. He would climb into the farm truck eager for the presence of his dad. One day his dad asked, "Where we going, son?" Filled with a wonder not yet stained by the world, the young boy replied, "Anywhere, Dad, as long as it’s with you."
We need to have a similar posture toward God. The life with God posture.
This Christmas as you consider the all-encompassing, failure-swallowing, entitlement-obliterating, and totally undeserved LOVE of God in Christ, here are some questions for around the dinner table or in your personal time with Jesus:
- What are you most looking forward to when you think about eternal life WITH God? (If your answer is lack of sickness, a gold mansion, or any other benefit that's not the presence of God, then He may be addressing the gift vs. Giver reality in your heart.)
- How does meditating on the character of the Giver help your faith remain strong (or even grow) when trials arise?
- Have I overemphasized any possessions or relationships to the point that they interfere with my relationship with God? Have I allowed any of His blessings to become an idol, instead of reminding me of God's lavish love for me?
Member Doug Rumbold is a minister of discipleship and counseling at Northfield Christian Fellowship in Tremont, Illinois.