“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” — Romans 6:23
Some time ago, I was speaking with my wife, and we were discussing the giving of gifts. I told her that if she asked for something, she would get it — along with something she did not expect.
I believe the best gifts are the ones with an element of surprise. However, within close relationships, there is another element: to know the person. In essence, the gift should be of little to no benefit to the one giving the gift. The joy should come with realizing the joy the other person has when receiving the gift. It is bad practice to go into a store looking at things that you know you would like the person to have versus what you know the person would like to have. Looking for a gift with the idea of “what you know they will like” helps remove selfish ambitions.
The person’s personality should be on your mind. You should think about how the person dresses and acts, what the individual likes for colors, jewelry, fragrances, etc. It should be all about the receiver of the gift. The moment you shift the attention to you in the gift-selection process is the moment the gift is no longer for the receiver, but for you.
God teaches us this fine art of gift-giving. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life.” God knew our personalities as sinners and that we could benefit through the gift of his Son. God gave his all through Jesus Christ with no benefit for him. God could have simply left us to die in our sin, but God looked beyond our faults and saw our needs. With that, he gave us the greatest gift of all: eternal life through Jesus Christ. This gift was truly unexpected, and it was given when God understood our benefit.
It is good to know that God had you and me on his mind when he gave his gift. Now, we can sing with new meaning the hymn “Father, I Stretch My Hands to Thee,” especially when we get to the part where the songwriter writes, “O let me now receive that gift! My soul without it dies.”
The art of gift-giving is simple: Give when it has little to nothing to do with you. That is what God did. His gift had everything to do with you. Will you accept it?
Harper is a member of Baconton M.B.C. and the United Ministerial Alliance.