A Gift That Keeps On Giving (and what the heck is myrrh anyways?)
December 20, 2013
"Then they opened their treasures and presented Him with gifts of gold, frankincense and of myrrh." Matthew 2:11b
The wise men weren’t stingy with what they brought to Jesus when they arrived to see Him. In fact, some believe that the cost of gold, frankincense, and myrrh at the time could be valued in the tens of thousands. It’s as if they wanted to make a statement with their gifts.
The wise men gave amazing gifts to our newborn King Jesus so what does this mean for us? What kind of gifts can we bring to someone who has already given all to us? In the past, my gifts were that I would never do bad things, always go to church, give to my church, only hang out with Christian people, and listen to only Christian music. Although it’s good to go to church, hang out with Christian people, and listen to Christian music, these aren’t necessarily gifts. In my case, and for a lot of people, they are religious activities. And the problem is I couldn’t keep up with them and I ended up failing at most of them. In other words, I tried to work really hard at being a better Christian thinking I was giving Him the right kinds of gift. Trying harder to be a better Christian actually led me away from God not to Him. So what’s the answer?
If you think about it, all of Christianity is a response to what God initiated for us. He sent Jesus to come as a baby, grow up and die on a cross, and be raised from the dead defeating our sin and our broken relationship with God. So my prayer, faith, worship, telling others about Jesus, is nothing more than a response to God loving us. Listen to this verse, 1 John 4:19, "We love Him because He first loved us." When we understand that we love Him because He loves us first it changes everything. In other words, my motivation to do the right thing becomes a response to His love for me.
Titus 2:11-12 says, "For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people, it teaches us to say 'No' to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age." In this verse the word grace means merciful kindness. Knowing God’s merciful kindness drives you to live a Godly life. This might sound backwards but the greatest gift I could ever give to God is knowing and acting on how incredibly loved I am by Him. Out of that flows the devotional life I’ve always dreamed of. My worship and my time spent with Him are out of a response to Him rather than religious activity.
This Christmas, realize that the reason Jesus came was out of God’s great love for us. When we needed a savior; God initiated the greatest love story in human history. Remember you are the gift that God is looking for. When this becomes your reality you will not be able to resist holiness and a Godly life – except it will be from your heart and not because of Christian duty, which is what God is looking for in the first place.