1 THESSALONIANS 2:8-9 – So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.
THEME OF THE DAY. THE BEST GIFT WE GIVE OTHERS. We are fast-approaching the season of giving. Even in this very strange year, Christmas is on the horizon, at least on the calendar, and that means giving of gifts. Whether we are big Christmas fans when it comes to giving or more on the opposite scale tipped toward minimal or nothing when it comes to giving, “tis the season” will be upon us. But beyond Christmas, giving is a big part of the Christian life, actually, it is the Christian life. It started with our God as stated in perhaps the most familiar of all Bibles verses – For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16). And it applies to us on a daily basis. Jesus even said it is the pathway to great blessings – In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’” (Acts 20:35). But when it comes to giving to others, especially our families – physical and spiritual – what would be considered the best gift we offer? Well, allow me to rattle off a few that would not be the best . . . material things, money, trips (kinda hard in this COVID world), new gadgets, or anything else temporary that may easily break, and will certainly wear out and need to be replaced. The best gift, the first priority gift, the greatest impact gift, and the most appreciative gift would be revealed in this thought-provoking, maybe even convicting story . . .
A little boy was playing outside of his dad’s home office. His dad was a driven man. Some would call him a workaholic. He was busy in his office and feeling the pressure of work and deadlines. His son knocked gently on the door. The father, with a tone of irritation for being interrupted, cried, “Who is it? What do you want?” The little boy slowly opened the door and asked, “Dad, can we go outside and play some ball?” A quick response was, “Not now, I have work to do” and then dismissed his son. By the way, for the father, “Not now” always meant “never” to his little boy. About fifteen minutes later, another knock. Same reply from his interrupted father. This time the little boy said, “Dad, can I sit in here with you while you work. I won’t bother you.” The dad, not missing a beat from his work, didn’t even look up, but responded, “Sit over there and don’t make a noise.” Well, a few minutes went by and the little boy interrupted and said, “Father, how much money do you make an hour?” His dad, all stressed out, hastily responded and said, “Twenty-dollars an hour” which was not true but enough to quiet his boy. His son thanked him and left the office. Another fifteen minutes went by and the third knock on the father’s office occurred. Dad was really upset and said, “What?” and his little boy walked in with a wad of one dollar bills in his hand. He laid them on the father’s desk and said, “Dad, I have ten dollars in my piggy bank. Do you think I could pay you for thirty minutes of your time to play ball?” Crushed. Convicted. His father’s eyes began to well up with tears as he realized what he had been doing to his boy. He got up, walked over to him, grab him in his arms and said, “I am so, so sorry. No payment necessary. Let’s go have some fun!”
Friends, the boy wanted his dad. And what he received was time – time with his father which means the best gift he got was his father. And for all of us, the best gift we give people, and especially our families, is ourselves which means our time – undistracted, unhindered, and given over to them for their good and encouragement. May this year, the best gift we “place under the tree” for those in our families – physical and spiritual – be ourselves.
PRAYER: “Father, help me to see that the best thing I may give to others, especially Your people, is myself.”
QUOTE: “To give oneself over to the interests of others is one of the high marks of being like Jesus.”