This time, however, I contemplated a difficult question: “Which do I love more…a gift from God or God Himself as the Giver of the gift?” It’s a fitting question coming off the heels of a time of giving and receiving gifts from family. At first glance, it seemed like an easy question to answer, but as I intentionally evaluated my personal response to what has been given to me, I had to painfully admit how often I treat the gift as more valuable than the Giver of the gift.
God’s Word reminded me that my two boys are gifts from Him as well, temporarily entrusted to my husband and I to care for, but to hold loosely. We don’t own them, yet we are called to shepherd them as good stewards. They ultimately belong to our Father for His purpose and delight, but I just want to cling to them so tightly. Of all the special gifts I have been given by God, it is my children that I try to withhold from Him, become stingy with, and struggle with God for His plan and purpose for their lives. I treat God as if I can more adequately provide for them and their needs making wiser decisions for them than He can. I even blame God when their lives don’t go as my plan warrants. Wow!
But what’s wrong with loving your children and caring deeply for them? Nothing; however, the problem comes when we adore our children more than we adore the Creator and Giver of these gifts and rewards from the Lord (Ps. 127:3). It doesn’t just have to be your children; it could be any relationship, career, material possession, ministry, or fill in the blank that is a distinct gift from the Giver.
Do you assign more worth and value to that someone or something than you do to God? Have you begun to worship that which God has granted to you rather than the One who gave you that delight? To answer these questions, trace your path of personal sacrifices. Calculate the results. For whom or what do you sacrifice more or more often for…God or someone/something other than Him? (Yikes!…When you put it that way.)
I’ll be the first to admit that I had to confess to my Father how often I tend to sacrifice more for my two fearfully and wonderfully-made children, gifts from God, than I sacrifice for Him, the Creator and Giver of life. Ironically, presenting and releasing these gifts back to God each day is an act of faith, exercising my trust in God to do what is right and best on behalf of these gifts, even if I don’t agree with it or like it.
In Matthew 2:11, the Bible records a beautiful example of the Magi worshiping God and giving back to Him that which He had already given them. The result was seeing face-to-face God’s only Son, Jesus, the Savior of the world. “Entering the house, they saw the child with Mary His mother, and falling to their knees, they worshiped Him. Then they opened their treasures and presented Him with gifts…”
If we began each day with worship of our Lord and time in His Word, I wonder whether our perspective would change about the Giver and the gifts He gives to us. We could freely focus on the Giver while presenting those gifts to Him with dependent trust and faith in Christ on behalf of the gifts. God has given us so much by His grace, but we must be mindful of putting those gifts above Him. He alone is worthy of our worship. Enjoy your gifts from God, be a good steward of those gifts, and thank God for those gifts, but never let them replace the Giver of those gifts.
“Our Lord and God, You are worthy to receive glory and honor and power, because You have created all things, and because of Your will they exist and were created…Blessing and honor and glory and dominion to the One seated on the throne, and to the Lamb, forever and ever!” (Rev. 4:11; 5:13)