I am of the opinion that we live in a society where unfounded gift giving has run rampant. Nonetheless, my wife, Maria, - who incidentally doesn’t agree with me on the issue - is a liberal gift-giver. I claim that I am a conservative in that area. I use the word “conservative” in order to avoid using the terms “cheap-skate and “tight-wad,” terms that I think inappropriate to describe my attitude.
Now, let’s be candid on this point. We are expected to give gifts at almost every turn in our lives: Engagement gifts, shower gifts, marriage gifts, baby gifts, birthday gifts, anniversary gifts, house warming gifts, employer and employee gifts, get well gifts, farewell gifts, welcome gifts, monetary gifts to the families of the deceased (something I find a warm, caring gesture), to name a few; however the list is much longer than this.
But even in the caring gesture of monetary gifts to loved ones of the dearly departed, some get carried away. As an example of this, *Mario, one of my brothers-in-law, will go to extreme lengths to collect money for the families of relatives, friends and acquaintances, who have suffered the loss of a family member. It’s a considerate, touching gesture, and one to which I have always generously responded – until he heard that one of his third cousins, who lived some 1,500 miles from us had passed away. Mario, himself, had met the man only once; I had never met him – didn’t even know he existed. That made no difference to Mario; he hopped in his Buick and visited all those on his long “come-on-let’s-give-list, including his nearby first, second and third cousins, and his siblings, leaving Maria and me for last.
“Look here, Mario,” I remonstrated, “I don’t mind contributing to the families of those I know. But I draw the line at contributing to the funeral expenses of someone I of whom I’ve never heard, who lives 1,500 miles away.”
My comment didn’t faze Mario. As the eldest of Maria’s siblings and my senior by several years, he felt it his duty to set the example in how to deal with relatives when it came to the giving of gifts. He is an unwavering gift-giver. I contributed.
Sincere believers sometimes are at a loss regarding how to view the practice of gift-giving. The Bible offers the answer. God, himself, was the first Christmas gift-giver. In 2nd Corinthians 9:15, the Apostle Paul exclaimed, “Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift.” The gift to which Paul referred is, of course, the Lord Jesus Christ.
The word “gift” in this scripture finds its root in the Greek word “dora.” It literally means “a present.” Therefore the three Magi did not give the first Christmas presents. God the Father presented it to humanity in the form of His Son, Jesus Christ. The Bible further reveals that all three Persons of the Godhead are gift-givers and salvation, itself, is a gift from Triune God to us (Ephesians 2:8).
Referring to the Lord Jesus Christ, Ephesians 4:8-14 records that: “When He ascended up on high, He led captivity captive and gave gifts (presents) unto men.” The presents Christ Jesus gives to the Church are ministerial in nature – apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers (some Bible scholars link the last two together as pastor-teachers).
Christ gives these ministry gifts for a definite purpose (verses 12-13): “For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith . . . unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.”
The Holy Spirit not only is a giver of gifts, He also is a gift to us. According to Acts 2:38, the Apostle Peter refers to the Holy Spirit as a gift: “ . . . ye shall receive the gift (present) of the Holy Spirit.” In Acts 8:20, the Spirit is called “ . . . the gift of God.”
Jesus promised He would send us the Comforter, who is the Holy Spirit. It is evident then that that the Holy Spirit is the gift given to us by God the Father and by Jesus Christ His Son. Both have made us a present of the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is a giver of gifts. 1st Corinthians 12:4 teaches, “. . . there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.” In this passage the word gifts is rooted in a word different than the word “dora.” Here it derived from the Greek word “charisma,” defined as a “gratuity, a freely given favor.” In giving us His gifts, the Holy Spirit has granted them as free favors, gratuitously.
God the Father, Jesus Christ His Son, and the blessed Holy Spirit are the ultimate, supreme gift-givers. Therefore, in presenting gifts believers are following a pattern established by the Supreme Godhead. As we emulate their example in this, we should also emulate their attitude; that of being openhanded, generous and loving, remembering that “God so loved the world that he gave . . .”
Mario is correct; God’s children must be generous in their generosity.
This is a valuable insight on giving, as modeled to us by Our Heavenly Father when He gave His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. He is the Gift that keeps on giving. But in receiving, we must also not forget to thank the giver. Thank you for sharing your "gift" of writing to us. May you keep on writing for God's glory.