Sunday, December 6, 2009

It's the Thought That Counts

Give him a generous farewell gift from your flock, your threshing floor, and your winepress. Share with him some of the bounty with which the LORD your God has blessed you.

-- Deuteronomy 15:14

Now that Thanksgiving is over, retailers are determined to remind us that the clock is winding down on the gift-buying season. Just count the repetitious TV commercials and overwhelming Christmas catalogs. They’re everywhere. Even your E-mail in-box probably isn’t immune from the holiday onslaught.

But fear not. If you’re still looking for that perfect gift for that someone special, there’s no lack of choices, colors and price ranges. A quick trip online to proves that. But with money particularly tight these days for so many Americans, every purchase has to count. We need gifts that will make impressions. We need value. We want bang-for-the-buck.

There’s nothing wrong with trying to stretch a dollar. But let’s consider that a gift’s real value has much more to do with its meaning and the person behind it rather than just a Low Everyday Walmart price.

That’s certainly the case if we’re to believe what God’s telling us through the Bible. And what does He say about the characteristics of a super gift? And more to the point, what should we know about being a super gift-giver? The example of Jesus’ life and ministry holds the answers.

First, we need to give with an attitude of generosity – one that exceeds what we expect to receive. Our gifts should also affirm the value of the recipient. But most importantly, our gifts – whatever they might be – should be given out of love. When it comes to gift-giving, it really IS the thought that counts. (Your grandmother was right all along!)

So what are your thoughts, attitudes and motivations this Christmas season? And have you thought about sharing just a few of your blessings with someone you may have never met – maybe someone living around the world or just around the block?

Christmas is closer than you think. And the clock is ticking. So before you head to the mall, log onto or tune into the Home Shopping network, let’s follow the examples of Jesus, who was and is the ultimate gift-giver. His greatest present is the salvation He bought through His death on the cross. It was an incredibly expensive gift that can never be re-paid. But it’s a gift given freely out of love. And it’s ready for everyone who’s willing to open the package.

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