Luke 21:1-4 As Jesus looked up, he saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. “Truly I tell you,” he said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”
“It more blessed to give than to receive” is a phrase we hear often this time of year. We go into hunter gatherer mode the day after Thanksgiving in search of the perfect gift to give our children, spouse, family and friends.
Do you take time to ponder the heart that went into the gifts that you are receiving? Sadly, I have probably not always articulated my gratitude appropriately.
As my students were preparing for a Thanksgiving chapel, one of them came to me with a gift. Because I had my classroom decorated in “Americana” style, and collected eagles, Derek was thrilled to present me with a bracelet made of little heart shaped flags. I put it on my wrist and proudly wore it the rest of the season.
I treasured the thoughtfulness of this gift. When I saw Derek’s mom, told her how much I loved the bracelet and thanked her. She said, “Oh no, don’t thank me.” Observing my puzzled look, she explained that Derek had very carefully inspected the jewelry at a party she hosted, picked this bracelet out, went to his room, emptied his piggy bank and purchased the bracelet for me. The gift took on a more significant meaning. Coming from his parents, the bracelet would have been a very nice gesture of appreciation. From Derek, it was a sacrifice of his personal finances and a heartfelt gift of gratitude to bless his teacher.
I don’t ever want to take a gift for granted or without the proper gratitude. I want to receive every gift with grace and with the heart attitude with which it was given. The way we receive a gift is as relevant as how we give them.
Christmas is a good time to stop and think about the heart of the most important gift ever given. God gave His only son to come to earth, be fully human yet fully God, to rescue us from ourselves and our sin and give us the gift of eternal life. All we have to do is receive it with a grateful heart.
Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.