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What Really Matters

When our children were living at home, one of our most meaningful Christmas morning traditions was very simple. We would gather our family around the Christmas tree where, in sight of the gifts we were receiving from one another, we would read the Christmas story together. It was a gentle reminder that the reason we give gifts is not because the Magi brought gifts to the Christ-child. Rather, our gifts of love for one another were a reflection of God’s infinitely greater Gift of love to us.

As we rehearsed the familiar story of angels, shepherds, and the manger scene, it was our hope that the magnitude of what God had done that first Christmas would overshadow our best attempts at displaying our love for each other.

Nothing could ever match the gift God has given us in His Son, a reality which echoes in Paul’s words to the church at Corinth, “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!” (2 Cor. 9:15).

Clearly, God’s willingness to send His Son to be our rescue is a gift that words cannot fully comprehend. This is the gift that we celebrate at Christmas—for Christ Himself is truly what matters most.

’Twas a humble birthplace, but O how much
God gave to us that day;
From the manger bed what a path has led,
What a perfect, holy way! —Neidlinger
Jesus Himself is the greatest Christmas gift ever given.


Today’s passage celebrates all that God has given us. He supplies the sower with seed and bread for food (v.10), and He blesses us so we can be generous to others (v.11). Our proper response is thanksgiving to God (v.15) and gratitude that we are able to share with others because of His gifts to us (v.13).

2 thoughts on “What Really Matters

  1. zephaniah says:

    Dear God Our FATHER,

  2. doctor-perspective says:

    It has become very fashionable in many cultures to give gifts on special occasions. One such occasion is Christmas time. To the extent that I am giving a “gift” and not a “reward” or “wages”, or anything in exchange for something, then I am giving what belongs to me to someone to whom I owe nothing. This means that it is very hard for me to go wrong, since in the first place, I have no obligation. However, as is clear from 2 Corinthians chapter 9, in God’s economy, this might not be the case. It would appear that we do have an obligation to give in situations where we have no contractual obligations to the human recipients. This obligation is to God, and we need to fully understand it, so that our attitude in giving to human recipients will be cheerful in the sight of God.

    Let us begin by acknowledging that everything belongs to God. He gives life and grants health. He gives power to make wealth. Every living thing belongs to Him, and so does the gold and the silver. (Job 10:12; Deuteronomy 8:18; Psalm 50:10-12 & Haggai 2:8). It is only after we have acquired an accurate understanding and appreciation of this, that we would be able to say like David in 1 Chronicles 29:14, “But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly as this? For all things come from You, and of Your own we have given You.”

    Against this background, God expects us to do three things with our money. We must spend some of it, save some of it and sow or give some of it. This means that when we add the three allocations, the total must be 100%. How much we have to save, will depend on how much we spend and give. How much we have to give, will be influenced by how much we spend and save.
    God expects to labor with our hands and our heads so that we can take care of our own needs and have enough left over to give to him that is in need (Ephesians 4:28). Naturally, there are different phases in life. This Scripture does not literally apply to little children, nor does it apply to the elderly, or those who for any valid reason, are incapable of working. However, it is the ideal model. It is ideal that while we can work, that we save and invest part of what we earn for the periods in life when we can’t. “Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise, which, having no captain, overseer or ruler, provides her supplies in the summer,
    and gathers her food in the harvest.” (Proverbs 6:6-8). Also, within the context of the home, children should be taught to be economically productive (Proverbs 22:6).

    In 2 Corinthians 9, the Apostle Paul outlines several factors that are related to Christian giving. Sections of Chapter 8 & Chapter 9 identify the particular gift in question as dedicated to the Saints in physical need at Jerusalem. For what it is worth, Paul was appealing primarily to Gentile Believers to financially support Jewish Believers. Consider what Jews unwittingly did for us, and we would be very, very happy to support them in any way we can (Romans 11:25).
    We must produce to give. We must plan to give. We must prepare to give. We must proudly and willingly and cheerfully give. As we give, we must be conscious that giving is sowing. It is not dumping or disposing of our assets. We are reminded that it is God who gives us both bread to eat, and seed to sow, so that we can acquire more bread to eat and generate more seed to sow. Paul indicates that this is not rocket science. Sow sparingly and reap sparingly. Sow generously and reap generously. The inter-relationship between sowing and reaping is dynamic and God supervises it. “And God is able to make every grace overflow to you, so that in every way, always having everything you need, you may excel in every good work.” (verse 8)

    Paul outlines the benefits of giving. We are expressing our thanks to God and that always comes with benefits (verses 12 &15). Next we are triggering the glorifying of God by those who receive our gifts (verse 13). Next, we are attracting the deep, sincere and affectionate prayers of those who receive our gifts (verse 14). Finally, Paul hits the ball out of the park in the closing verse. “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift.”

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