We have just come through the Christmas holiday season and the news has been full of reports about it being another record spending spree in the retail sector. People have spent billions of dollars on gifts, much of financed on credit cards, so they can give all kinds of gifts to others. This got me thinking and I started to look at the process of giving that is supposed to epitomize the Christmas season.
There is a verse in the Bible that says, "Not as the world gives do I give to you." (John 14:27) This verse gave me pause to consider the difference between the ways the world gives and the way that God gives.
There is an old story about a great king who wanted to give his people a great gift, the gift of "the wisdom of the world." And so he summoned all the wise men of the kingdom and charged them to record all the knowledge and wisdom of the world for his people. A year later they came back with multiple volumes of books, but the king said, "It is too much, they will never read it! Condense it!" So the wise men went away and came back a year later with a single book, but again the king said it was too much and told them to cut it back even further. Eventually they came back with a single sheet of paper and just one short sentence that summed up the wisdom of the world. At last the king was satisfied, and the wisdom of the world read as:
"There ain't no free lunch"
This is a pretty good illustration of how the world works today. You generally don't get anything for nothing in this world. Every so-called free gift usually has some kind of strings attached. Even at Christmas, much of the gift giving is done to either receive something back in return or to pay back others. How many times has someone done something for you and said, "You owe me!" And likewise when someone does help you out you feel in his or her debt until you can repay in kind. The truth is there is very little real altruism in this world.
But when God gives us a gift it is different. He does not give to us seeking or expecting anything in return. The scripture mentioned above begins, "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you." A gift from God comes without cost and with no strings attached. And also when we receive his gifts we are greatly blessed by them. They are free of charge and God does not take credit cards.
In the first place God gives us the greatest gift of all, his son Jesus Christ. Jesus provided an example for us to follow and when we follow in his footsteps we gain access to all of the other gifts God has for man. These gifts are spiritual in nature and are given freely to those who seek God. The value of these gifts, especially in these troubled times is inestimable. Consider just the nine gift of the fruit of the Spirit that we have on offer: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. And there are many more gifts he provides.
Looking at just one of these, the gift of peace. The peace God gives us is the knowledge that he is with us to deal with all of our problems and issues. This peace is an internal peace and is absolutely unshakeable, so that regardless of what is going on around us, we remain at peace. In a world where the daily stress of financial crisis, terrorism, mans inhumanity to man and many other such issues, this gift of peace from God is a great blessing.
And it comes without strings and without cost. All we need to do is accept it by accepting him, learning from him and following in his ways. His ways are not burdensome, as he has said, "Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." (Matthew 11:28-30)
This is the path to find and access the bountiful gifts of God.
I hope that you found something here to help you or add to your own knowledge. If you have any questions, then please feel free to contact me.