Christmas is more than two months away and my husband and I are already talking about Christmas gifts. As we drove to the store this morning, he commented on how much he enjoys the mount for our GPS I gave him for Father’s Day. Knowing that GPS systems have improved tremendously and come down in price in the last two years, I asked him if I could get him a new GPS for Christmas. Yes, he would like that.
He grinned at me. “You’re safe. I’ll forget by tomorrow that you mentioned it.” Ah, there can be advantages to this getting older thing!
Jesus’ gifts never need to be updated or reissued. If you do a word search in a Bible reference website like Bible Gateway on the words “will give,” you’ll find quite a few of them. Here are eight gifts that stood out to me.
Rest (Mt 11:28). Just the other day someone asked me what “take my yoke upon you” meant. Jesus constantly hammered at the way the Jewish leaders had added to the law of Moses, making the task of obedience to God nearly impossible and so wearisome. Who could ever remember all those itty-bitty, nit-picky laws? His way was easy, Jesus told them. If they would come to Him, they would find rest.
We will also find rest when we follow Him. We don’t have to try to figure out the thing called life on our own. Life doesn’t have to be a random trial and error, see what works kind of experiment, only to discover the answers too late at the end of life. Jesus already has it all figured out. When we do it His way, life is lots easier.
Words and wisdom (Luke 21:15): Jesus is mainly referring to the times when others will challenge us about our faith because they feel threatened by our righteous living. The verse beforehand stood out to me – “Make up your mind beforehand not to worry how you will defend yourselves.” Oh my! I know I and other Christians have fretted that we don’t know enough to refute those who object to our faith. DON’T WORRY, Jesus says. He will give us the wisdom we need when we need it.
Living water (Jn 4:10): Compare water in a standing pool with water that comes from a spring. One is stagnant, the other moves. One is scummy and dirty, the other is pure. One will easily dry up and disappear, the other is a never ending source of cool, refreshing water. That’s the backdrop of what Jesus offered the woman at the well. Just as artesian well water is so much better than standing water, what Jesus has to offer is exponentially better and more satisfying than anything the world might offer us. All your longing and cravings – even if you get what you want, like J.D. Rockefeller, you’ll always want more. Jesus is our all-sufficient. He satisfies in such a way that we are content.
Food that endures (Jn 6:27): I’m to the point in my life where eating isn’t so fun anymore. Whatever I like is bad for me. Overeating just gives me heartburn and threatens to increase my glucose and cholesterol. Counting calories leaves me hungry long before my next meal. Jesus told his disciples to put their emphasis on the things in life that will last, not just beyond the next craving or meal. Focus on the things that will last on into eternity. That’s the kind of food and life He offers us – one with lasting benefits. Sounds good to me!
The Holy Spirit (Jn 14:16): I like the job description Jesus gives the Holy Spirit. “He will help you and be with you forever.” Once I get over my pride issue, the idea of someone always being available to help me, someone who will always be my companion, why that sounds like a gift I would like to have.
Eternal life (Romans 2:7): This one is so obvious, that it is easy to skip over. Yet, stop. Think about what your life would be like without that promise of life after death! I don’t have to fear death anymore! The life after this one will be so unlimited, free from the baggage, obstacles and pain of this life!
Insight (2 Timothy 2:7): Paul is talking about our understanding of what is written in the Bible. As we read and as we ask Him for help, God has promised the gift of insight. No, we won’t understand the deep truths of God’s Word all at once. Insight is built a little bit at a time, precept upon precept, layer upon layer, as we grow in our experience and exposure to the Scripture, God will help us understand more and more.
It’s so much fun to gain new Biblical insight. Any time you have one of those wonderful moments of, “Oh that’s what that means!” that streak of insight comes directly from God.
Light (Rev 22:5): Oh I can so relate to this one! Light makes life easier, less scary, more defined and understandable, the tasks of the day easier. I’m more effective when I have light to do my work. I’m more confident because I can see beyond the shadow of my hand. Light is one of those multi-purpose gifts that offers so much.
The gift of Jesus’ light guides me, shows me where to go in my life, keeps me from making bad choices, and illuminates what a beautiful world, both physical and spiritual, that He has made for me.
So what do we do with gifts? Saying thank you is a good start. But the best way our Lord will know the scope of our gratitude is when we start to use these special gifts. Which do you think would mean to a grandparent – to receive a proper thank you note in the mail then discover the unopened box hid in the closet, or to see the grandchild rip into the box and happily play for hours on end, discovering all the tricks the new toy can do?
This week, spend time thanking Jesus for the gifts I’ve listed here. Then take your gifts out, and start appreciating and using them. Come to Him, follow Him, and acknowledge that His gifts are beside you and within you. Feel the peace, the joy, the rest, and the reassurance that He loves you with a lavish, never ending love.
If you want to explore more of God’s gifts and how you can pass on His gifts to others, check out Anne Voscamp’s website here. Let me know how you have been blessed by God’s gifts this week.