If you are anything like me, the thoughts of giving gifts or things to others is both a joy and a frustration. I love it when I find the perfect gift for someone and they are so excited to receive it. I love finding things of value to me that I own and giving them to others who will love it like I loved it. In fact, most of the time when I give up my own possessions I think about how the gift makes me feel and I have this anticipation of hope that the one who receives it will be as elated to own it as I was. I get frustrated when I put a lot of thought into a gift and it isn’t received, or appreciated. Especially when the gift was precious to me. I read the words from Isaiah 9:6 “Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given….“ and I see once again that God does not give the way that I do. John 3:16 says “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes on Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
If I were God, I would not give my son to the whole world. I would choose a particular group of people to receive my son. A hand-selected group who would love and cherish Him. A group of people who would hang on His every word, and certainly defend His life and reputation in the face of any danger, misjudgment, peril, or strife.
I wouldn’t give my favorite possession up easily to someone who would not care for it. If I thought there was any possibility of it being discarded, trashed, or forgotten, I would withhold the gift from that recipient, and if anything at all, I would give them something less valuable.
I want praise to come to me for the gifts I give. I want the joy of receiving the gift to reflect on me the giver. As much as I want to say the gifts I give are all about the recipients, I have to admit my selfish humanity likes the praise to go back to me.
Again, I am not like God.
9 The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
3 He was despised and rejected by mankind,
a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces
he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.
To give without being praised for the gift– to have your gift mistreated, discarded, outright rejected, and destroyed, to give your best knowing you could have given something lesser, or never given at all is to give as God gives. To lavish on others the greatness of all You are–to bring orphans and strangers into your family and give them an inheritance–to rescue the lost and dying by losing and dying yourself is to give as God gives. To offer up that same gift and the benefits of it every second of every minute of every day of every year in every generation for as long as man has breath is to give as God gives.
2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
2 Peter 3:9
9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
God gave lavishly, sacrificially, without selfishness, with all of who He is to a world that made its own choices whether or not to receive it. To this day, His gift–Jesus, is praised by some and scorned by others. Neither response adds to His worth or diminishes it. He is God’s perfect gift. He is God come in the flesh. He is the greatest gift this world has ever been given, and is still the greatest gift anyone can receive.
This is God. This is how He gives. I want to be more like Him…..