Friday, Aug. 26                                  Gift and Giver

“Love Christ, not his gifts.”  This conjures up some early childhood memories for me.  When my brother and I were about seven and eight years old we each got a toy car for Christmas.  It was about eight inches long and had headlights.  We motored around wherever we could find a dark area in the house.  I gave little thought to Mom and Dad.  This was during the depression and Dad was pastoring a church that was on the verge of dying.  His income was next to nothing.  At the time, I had no idea of what they were going through, but my focus was definitely on the gift, not the givers.  And it was more than just Christmas and birthday gifts.   Later, during my teen age years, I still didn’t appreciate the sacrifices Mom and Dad made for us.  We didn’t have much and a lot of our clothes were “hand me downs,” but when we needed new shoes we got them.  By contrast, I remember my Mom crying when Dad was able to take her downtown to buy her a new dress, the first new dress she’d had for years.  It was then that I began to think of the loving, caring givers rather than the gifts.  We tend to do the same thing with spiritual gifts.  Actually, we don’t give enough thought to the gifts we’ve received, either.  Paul says a lot in his letters about the riches poured out on us by a loving God, and a lot about being thankful, so I guess the early church was no different than we are.  Paul also makes it clear who the giver is and the cost of it.  We simply can’t thank God enough for what He has done for us.

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