At this festive time of year, consumers eagerly shop for the perfect gifts for their family members, friends and loved ones. Guiding their decision process on what makes a great gift, various articles offer suggestions on finding the perfect gift for anyone and everyone. Some people believe the cost of the gift matters. Some believe it’s the size of the gift that counts. Because we are all unique, we all have our own idea of what makes a great gift. However, regardless of the cost or nature of the gift, we should be thankful and appreciate the gifts we receive.
Shortly after the birth of the church at Pentecost, Peter and John were going up to the temple at 3:00 p.m. to pray. Upon entering the temple, they encountered a physically disabled man lying outside “The Beautiful Gate.” Through the power of Jesus Christ, Peter and John healed the lame man and restored not only his physical health but his spiritual and emotional health as well. The story of the healing of this physically disabled man in Acts 3:1 – 9, illustrates the biblical principles of giving and receiving gifts.
We Cannot Give What We Don’t Have. Individually and collectively, the church is about giving what we receive from God. We cannot give forgiveness if we have not received God’s forgiveness. We cannot give love, care, and compassion to others if we have not received them in our hearts. If you don’t have love you can’t give it. If you don’t have forgiveness in your heart you can’t give it. Peter said, “… such as I have give I thee.” What did Peter have? He pointed the beggar man to Jesus. When we help others, our actions should point them to Jesus.
A True Giver Cares About The Need of Others. We are a spiritual family. We should care about the well-being of each other. Every day for forty years, friends or family carried this man to the temple where he could get help. The people around him could not help him financially, but they took him to the One who could help him. Peter recognized the lame man needed something money could not buy (Acts 3:6). The story of David and Jonathan is another example that shows us how to respond to our brothers and sisters. Jonathan cared about David so much that he wanted to give David the honour that he himself had. Jonathan, the crown prince, next in line to the throne, took off his royal clothes and gave them to David (1 Samuel 18:3-4). Scripture calls for us to edify one another (1 Thessalonians 5:11). As kingdom workers and heirs of this great gospel, we must do that which is necessary to build and support each other. The quote by Flannery O’Connor, “The Life You Save May Be Your Own” was illustrated in the lives of Jonathan and David. Shortly after David became king, he reciprocated to Mephibosheth the kindness of Jonathan.
A True Giver Has Humility. Over the years, the Holy Spirit has taught that He blesses us to bless others. When we bless others, God takes care of our needs. In fact, when God brings someone who needs assistance in our life, there’s an area of need in our own life. Ruth, the Moabite needed redemption. Elimelech refused to give her the rites of the kinsman-redeemer. He said to Boaz, “I cannot redeem her because she might endanger my own estate.” Unknown to Elimelech, Ruth was a blessing in disguise. Boaz was a man of discernment and spiritual insight. He married Ruth and later had a son by her named Obed. Obed became the grandfather of King David and ancestor of Jesus (Matthew 1:5-6). Our gifts usually come in obscure wrappings. When God positions us to bless others – it’s a place of privilege.
A True Giver Restores Confidence. The man in Act 3 had to beg to make ends meet. What’s worse, he had to depend on others to carry him to the place he would spend the day begging. His self-esteem and confidence must have been shattered. By stretching his hand to help the lame man, Peter restored his confidence in God.
What gifts are you giving this year? Needs of the people around you? What gift would you like to receive? We are bearers of good gifts because of the grace of God. Just like Peter and John, God equipped us to discern the real needs of our brothers and sister. They may simply need a word of encouragement.