This is my 9th blog in a series called “Jesus Said”. The purpose of this series it to take a closer look at the word of God and discover the message God has for us so we don’t drift away from the life He desires for us. Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. Hebrews 2:1 Today we are looking at what Jesus said about gifts.
You probably already know Jesus didn’t talk much about the gifts you buy online, wrap and give at Christmas or birthdays, but He did talk a lot about giving to others and it’s so fitting for this holiday season of Christmas I thought we would take a deeper look at three passages (although there are several more) where Jesus goes into detail about gift giving.
Do not judge so that you will not be judged. 2 For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. 3 Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Matthew 7:1-3 (NASB)
Ah, the gift of judgement. No one has that on their wish list. I’ve been the victim of it and I admit I’ve also dished it out. I’m a recovering “judger”. Not that I don’t catch myself every now and then, but thankfully the more I grow in my faith the quicker the Holy Spirit brings it to my attention and puts a damper on it. In these verses from Matthew, Jesus is reminding us that what we give will be given to us in return. Yikes! This week, let’s consider what we are giving to others: judgement or acceptance, love or hate, smiles or frowns, support or condemnation . . . and make sure we are gifting what we would like in return.
In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ Acts 20:35
Think honestly about this next question. What if you cooked everyone Christmas dinner and bought everyone the perfect gift only to discover that no one brought you one side dish or dessert to put on the table, neglected to even consider buying you a present to put under the Christmas tree and didn’t even offer up one “thank you”? How would you feel? Honestly and truly, how would you feel? I know the answer I should give, but I also know that isn’t the way I would respond. At least, not at first. I would need some time to pout and be resentful first, then I would pray and God and I would work it out. It’s easy to give to others who are in need and don’t have anything. We feel good about helping and being Christ’s hands and feet, but when we give to those who can give back and they don’t . . . well, our expectations change a little. This month, consider giving with no strings attached. As difficult is for my Southern roots to type this, consider not even expecting a “thank you”.
“But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31 Do to others as you would have them do to you. Luke 6:27-31
Finally, Jesus gives us this most challenging concept of giving: give to anyone who asks, even if they are your enemy, curse you and slap you. This is certainly not a human response, but that’s what makes it so much more amazing when we are able to give in this way. We know it’s JESUS when we are able to give generously and freely to our enemies. It’s His power and not our own. When I am able to pull off something like this, I feel closer to God than ever because I know He is near and working a miracle in my human heart. If you have a story of a time God did this for you I would love to hear it. E-mail me!
I want to try to more give gifts as Jesus did. Surely, they are the gifts that can’t be taken away, stolen, never rust and can change lives in ways we could never imagine. His gift ideas are so much better than ours and can make lasting impressions on the hearts of those who receive and on our very own.
My all our gifts be given in the spirit of the Creator.