We’ve all seen it. A child has a birthday party. Their friends are all gathered having fun, playing games, eating and waiting for the infamous clown or magician. After lunch and some more games it’s time for the child to open their gifts. All the friends gather with the child’s parents. There is joy and happiness on each child’s face. The birthday child proceeds to open the first gift.
“It’s what I always wanted”, excitedly chimes the child. Gift after gift, “It’s what I always wanted” echoes. Then at an instant, one gift is opened that the child doesn’t expect. It is not the gift they were looking for. In fact, there is now a confused look on the child’s face as to what it may be. The child looks up and says…….
So what is the first reaction you thought of? There were two that I can remember as a child. One was the child who was thankful no matter what it was. They would figure it out or just place it to the side, but there was no way they would ever be rude.
The other example is one where the child says, “I don’t know what this is and I don’t want it.” Sometimes it is with tears, sometimes with anger, but always out of a thankless attitude. Now ask this question…how did the gift giver feel?
In this life, we have been given 5 essential gifts that our Gift-giver has given. All of them are free-of-charge and require nothing but acceptance. Yesterday, I explained the five (5) gifts are marriage, children, money, life and salvation. Today, I want to explain how we (even Christians) have a tendency to trash the gifts God has given to us.
When we get married, we make a covenant (stronger than a promise) to not just love the person but go through the ups and downs of life with our spouse. We make a public statement that no matter what happens we will stick by each other and go through the rough and calm roads together.
God has implemented marriage not as a strict way to procreate but also as a means to share His love with each member (husband and wife). He explained that when a man and woman come together in marriage that they would “become one”. This is not just physical but also emotional, thought processes and journey. Marriage is the means to live this life together so that God will say, “It is good.” So the question remains, how do we trash this gift?
Unfortunately, this gift can be trashed in many ways. One of the most common ways is to not appreciate the person God presented to you. Many times husbands and wives don’t see eye to eye. Each has a different opinion or idea. The key is to appreciate each other regardless of the differences. When we learn to accept each other for who God has made us to be, we tell Him, “Thank you for the gift of marriage”. However when we say, “I made a mistake in marrying you” we say to God, “This was not the gift I was looking for”.
Another way we trash the gift is we don’t hold to what God considers marriage. According to Scripture, marriage happens between a man and a woman. It also is sacred that no earthly bond should break. So when the divorce rate is the same in the church as it is in the world, we say to God, “This gift doesn’t mean anything”. We throw the gift of marriage back into God’s face or in the garbage. In addition, when we think that homosexual marriage is good, even though Scripture says it is not, we take the gift of marriage and place it in the sewer.
God has made it clear. Homosexuality is wrong. It is an act of selfishness, pride and it is sinful as it goes against what God had intended for men and women regarding relationships. Therefore, homosexual marriage is just as wrong.
One of the most joyous times was when my sons were born. Although my wife had pains and struggles as every woman who has given birth has. The end result was a happy one. Out of a loving relationship in marriage comes a child who is the person that loves physically displays.
I stated yesterday that Christ loves the children. Their innocence, commitment and unconditional love are just part of why God loves children. However, we can take this gift and throw it in the trash and here’s how.
When we are too harsh with our children (I am guilty of this on occasion) or when we have no respect for them, we tell God, “This gift is nothing more than a burden”. It is the same thing that Adam did after the fall. Instead of taking responsibility for his actions, Adam blamed God for the situation. Many times children are falsely blamed for the parent’s problems. I have heard people say, “If only I didn’t have kids. I would be free.” The reality is that children have allowed you to be freer than you have ever been.
When my sons are happy and playing nicely, I am happy. When my sons are fighting over something silly, then I am not so happy. Both of my boys have a way of showing their love and desire for me to have their interests in mind. However, when I disregard their feelings or say, “What you say does not matter”, even I am telling God, “It’s your fault”.
Children are a gift and they should be treated that way.
This one is the most controversial subject in the church. We can easily trash the gift of money by not doing something that is so easy but yet is so hard to grasp. Give God the firstfruits.
As I explained yesterday, God accepted Abel because he gave his best to God, while Cain gave his leftovers. We too can grieve God because we forget to give back to Him for what He has provided. Did you know that your job, your boss and the strength to work have been given to you as a gift as well? Work is a means that God uses to sharpen us to do His work. If we do well at our jobs, we should also do well with His ministry. One easy way to do that is to give God the best of what we have. This is not just money, but it is a start. Most people don’t give their time or talents to the church. I would like to argue that most times those same people are also giving God the leftovers from their check.
We are commanded to give our tithe (both in the Old and New Testaments) but it can be argued about the amount. The tithe typically was a minimum of 10% of what the person made. Most times, it was in the form of food and sacrifices. The tithe was to show God how much you appreciate and love Him. God then used the tithe to feed the priests and those who worked in full-time ministry.
When we refuse to give God the best of what we have (including money), we tell Him, “This gift I made. You did nothing.” Remember, you and I didn’t make work, God did. You and I didn’t make our bosses, God did. You and I didn’t make the strength we need, God did. God has done more for you and I than we could ever imagine. Don’t trash your money to things that you don’t need, to impress people you don’t like. Show God how much you love Him and give Him the best of your money.
We have all heard the expression, “Life is a gift”. This is not just an expression but truth. Life is a gift that God has given to all of us. However, this gift is not an easy one. We all have encountered sickness or injury. We have either seen someone or experienced extreme illnesses, injuries that disable us and lifestyles that prohibit some of the happiness we think we deserve.
There are levels to trashing the gift of life. If we don’t eat right or exercise don’t respect and love the bodies that God created. When we go through plastic surgeries just to change the way we look (outside of medical reasons) we say, “God you made a mistake”.
We also trash life when we decide that life isn’t worth living. Depending on your outlook, this thought process can lead to depression or suicide. In fact suicide is the most selfish act you can take. Taking your life says, “God you don’t know what I am going through and you don’t care.” This couldn’t be further from the truth. (The next gift will explain this.)
Life is gift worth fighting for.
Salvation is a gift. It cannot be earned. Salvation through Jesus Christ alone is the best life anyone could live. God cares for us so much that while we were still actively sinning, Jesus Christ died for us. Salvation is the greatest of all gifts. We cannot give it back. Once we are saved by Jesus, we are His children forever.
There is only one way to trash the gift of salvation. Just don’t accept it and die in sin. We have only one shot at this one. Once we allow Jesus to enter our lives, He starts the work of transforming us. Jesus cleans our closets, washes our floors and works to make our lives “living sacrifices”. We are given the opportunity to choose eternal life or death.
God loves us so much that He sent His only Son to suffer and die for us. Because of this, we are responsible to use the other four (4) gifts in order to bring others to Christ. We are only told to introduce people to Christ, not to convince them. Only the Holy Spirit can convince anyone that He exists, so if you are trying to convince someone about Christ, stop it won’t work. Let the Spirit do His work.
The use of our gifts tells God and others how we feel about our relationship with God. From time to time ask this question, “How am I doing with the gifts God has given?” Once you evaluate your situation, you will be able to act accordingly. Open your heart to God and let Him tell you how to use the gifts He has given to you.
God bless and encourage someone today.