Have you ever received a gift that you absolutely loved? For a moment, I want you to really think about this gift. How did it make you feel? Joyous? Happy? How did you feel about the gift-giver? Thankful? Loved? Well, there are 5 gifts that we have been given. Here they are in no order of importance:
I am certain you can think of others, I know I can. However, I have found that the above five mentioned can bring joy and happiness. I also realize that these same gifts can be looked upon as a burden. So, let’s go through each of them and see why they are the top 5 gifts and how we should treat them.
Marriage was given to us by God. We know this from Genesis. God made Adam. God told Adam to name all the animals. God was not pleased as there was no suitable helper for Adam. God put Adam into a deep sleep, did a bit of surgery and made Eve. God presented Eve to Adam. Adam felt deep joy and happiness. He also felt a sense of thankfulness to God. God had given Adam one of the most greatest gifts of his time, marriage.
When people get married today, a lot of times, we say the vows but don’t fully understand what they mean. When we say “in sickness and in health”, we rarely ever think sickness. When we say “for richer or poorer”, we rarely ever think we will be poor. When we say “till death do us part”, we think that because of differences, divorce is okay. We treat the gift as if it is just another part of life. We tend to forget the Gift-giver.
God wants marriage to be a unity between a man and a woman for the purpose of showing how much God loves us. Did you know that the relationship between the church and Christ is compared to marriage? If marriage is important enough that God would allow Christ to be the groom and the church, the bride, then obviously it is important enough that we should treat it with not just respect but with holiness. Marriage is a gift worth fighting for.
Psalm 127:3 “Behold, children are a gift of the LORD, the fruit of the womb is a reward. (NASB)
Children are not a burden, they are a gift. Did you know that children play such an important part in the life of Christ that when the disciples tried to keep them away, Jesus said, “Let the little children come.” He then proceeded to talk about how if we have the faith of a child, we please God. We don’t need a lot of faith, only what God gives to us at the time of salvation.
Children are considered sacred as well. Christ warned that if anyone leads a child astray it would be better to be buried at the deepest part of the sea or never to be born at all. Jesus loved children. He loved their innocence. He loved their commitment. He loved how they wanted to spend time with their parents. Children love unconditionally. Children are a gift worth fighting for.
How many times does the Bible talk about money? How many times does the Bible talk about heaven? I’ll answer this one for you. The Bible talks more about money and hell than heaven, salvation and love. Money is a vital part of life and God decided to teach us a bit about ourselves regarding money.
Did you ever hear, “Money is the root of all evil?” Some say this comes from Scripture. However, this is not the actual statement and I believe it is a twist that Satan came up with. The real verse says, “Money is a root of all kinds of evil.” It is only a root. If you dig up one root of a tree, it will still survive. There are many other areas of life that are roots of evil, money may be just one of them. However, it isn’t money this passage is talking about but rather the attitude towards money.
Many times in the Old Testament, God rejected the sacrifices (money and other items) not because of the gift but because of the attitude of the gift-giver. Think about this for a moment. Abel’s (Adam and Eve’s son) gave a gift that was pleasing to the Lord. While his brother Cain’s gift was not pleasing to the Lord. Why? Abel gave the best of the best to God, while Cain only gave the left-overs.
How we treat money says volumes on what we think about God. If we give from the top, we show God that He is important in our lives. We say, “God thank you for the gift of money. You allowed me this gift so I want to give back to you as a thankful offering.” When we give out of our left-overs, we say, “God you are not important enough. I work for it so I’ll give you what I want”.
From the time we are born, to the time we die, the breath of God is in our lungs. God gave to us the gift of life. So how do we treat it? Most times, we eat till we are over-filled, drink until we are drunk and sit around without thinking of others first.
I have a friend who is sick and realizes that although it is better to be with God, he still wants to live. He has said, “As long as there is breath in me, I will praise God.” Our lives need to be pleasing to God. So how do we do this?
What I am about to say is an area that God is currently working on in my life. I don’t exercise. I don’t eat right. I sometimes want to sit around and do nothing. Therefore, when I am like this, I am living in sin.
God wants all of us to treat our bodies as a gift. When we treat our bodies as a gift, our lives become a gift. We have the energy to help others. We have the motivation to lead others to Christ. We desire to do what we can for His Kingdom. Conversely, when we do as I have been doing, we don’t want to help others. We have little motivation to do anything, so we sit around, watch T.V. and are tired all of the time. So here is my prayer request. Please pray that I will change in order to glorify God with my body. I desire to be the living sacrifice He desires me to be.
There is life after death. However, it will be either a life of eternal joy and contentment or a life of despair and regret. We will either go to heaven or hell, but we will go somewhere. So how do we guarantee that we will go to either heaven or hell?
To go to hell, do this. Absolutely nothing! The minute we were conceived we were considered separate and apart from God. We were created with sin as our core. We are not inherently good, but we are inherently evil. How do we know this? Do you have to teach children to be bad? No, but we always have to teach them to be good. Think about teenagers. I have one. I never have to teach him how to be bad. When he decides that I am wrong and he is right (and I know that I am right in this case), he rebels. He decided to act against what is right. So I discipline him to correct his ways to be good. As we are inherently evil, we inherently deserve hell.
So what about heaven? It is simple. If you are reading this and do not know Christ as a personal loving Savior, then God is “wooing” you into a relationship with Him. The Bible is very clear. Salvation can only be given by God through Jesus Christ. It is not something to be earned, but a gift given to us.
Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father, except through Me.” Asking Jesus to take over your life and be in the driver’s seat is the only way we will go to heaven. It is Jesus and Jesus only.
So, how did you do? How do you treat these gifts? I ask this because how we treat these gifts determines how much we love the Gift-giver. Tomorrow, I will discuss what happens when we reject each of these gifts.
God bless and encourage someone today.