by Tim Hall
Is there a name we omitted from our gift-giving list?
The custom of giving gifts at Christmas has its roots in information found in the Bible. Matthew tells us of the response of the wise men to the star that suddenly appeared: “For we have seen his star in the East and have come to worship him” (Matthew 2:2). They didn’t come to worship empty-handed; precious gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh were presented to the young child (2:11).
God didn’t command us to celebrate the birth of Jesus. He did, however, command celebration of his Son’s death for our sins, and we fulfill that command every first day of the week when we partake of the Lord’s Supper (1 Corinthians 11:26). But is it ever wrong for us to give gifts to God? If loved ones merit tokens of love, God certainly does!
What kinds of gifts might we give to the Lord? Here are some suggestions:
• A commitment to draw closer to the Lord through daily Bible study and prayer would be a wonderful gift to give God. We’ll actually receive the greater benefit from such a gift, but a close relationship is what God desires. Communication with him is the way to make that happen.
• A decision to serve God more regularly would be another great gift. It doesn’t have to be elaborate. Jesus said even a cup of water given to some thirsty stranger would be rewarded by God (Mark 9:41).
• A mission trip would be a way of showing our gratitude to the Lord. People in some places rarely (if ever) hear pure New Testament Christianity presented to them. Perhaps more could consider devoting a week, month or more to doing something for the Lord’s kingdom.
• Your warm smiles and handshakes at worship and Bible study assemblies are gifts to God. Will visitors to these assemblies be warmly received? You can determine to be more outgoing to visitors as your gift to God.
• Your contribution each Lord’s day is a gift to God. Yes, it is how the church “pays its bills,” but it’s so much more than that. My offering is a response of my heart, showing either gratitude to God or a hollow act born of habit.
You can surely come up with other ways to give a gift to the Lord. He has given so much to us. Isn’t it only right that we show in tangible ways how grateful we are?
by Tim Hall