For those of us who are Christians this weekend we celebrate the greatest gift ever given.
In the Bible we are frequently encouraged to give. We are to give our tithes and offering to our church. We are to give to those who are in need. We are to take care of the widows and orphans. We are to give to support those who have given their lives in service full-time to the Lord.
Have you ever wondered why we are so often encouraged to give? There are many reasons. But I believe the most important reason of them all is that one of God’s most basic core character traits is He is a giver.
Several years ago, I read a book called The Bible Jesus Read by Phillip Yancey. In it he takes a look at 7 specific books of the Old Testament. One of those chapters covers the book of Job. The basic message of the book of Job is that even if God had never done anything for us, if there was no Christmas and more importantly no Easter, if there were no promises to hold on to and no heaven to look forward to, God would still be worthy of our worship simply because of who He is.
But, the reality is there was a Christmas and praise God there was a cross where our sins were paid for and a Resurrection that gives us the hope of spending eternity with Him. And if that weren’t enough, God continues to bless us everyday in more ways than we can ever count. From the beauty of a golden sunrise, to the smile of a child, to the blessings of His Spirit to guide us, to friends and family that love us, and on and on and on. God gives and gives and gives.
The reason God calls us to be givers is His ultimate desire is that we would become like Him. No one can say they follow Christ and yet not be a giver. We must become givers if we are to become like Christ. Every time we give, a little more of ourselves is chipped away and a little bit of the glory of Christ shines through us.
Thinking about the gifts of God I did a quick search of all the times we find God giving in the New Testament. The number of verses is almost more than we can count, but I have chosen just a few. As you think about what Easter means to you this weekend, spend some time considering the great gifts and kindness of our God. Here are just a few of these gifts:
If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God
27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.
And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?
2 Corinthians 5:5
Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8 that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, 9 he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.
I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
2 Timothy 1:7
For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.
1 Peter 1:3-4
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade.
2 Peter 1:3-4
His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.. 4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
And the greatest gift of all…
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.