Friday, December 21, 2007

Giving Gifts Like the Magi

It could have been as many as twenty-four months since Jesus had been born by the time the Magi arrived in Jerusalem to enquire about the birth of the King of the Jews. Jesus was likely at least six months old; yet, he was still in Bethlehem. King Herod had to ask “the peoples chief priests and teachers of the law” where the Christ was to be born. “In Bethlehem,” they told him; and they referred to the prophet Micah to prove their point and included in what they reported some of their own expectation regarding the Christ, that he would be a shepherd to the people. The fact that Matthew included their rendition, “a ruler who will be the shepherd of my people Israel,” probably means that he agreed with their perception of the Christ.

As the Magi approached where Jesus was, they overflowed with joy. As they gazed on him, they bowed and worshipped. As they considered who he was, they opened their treasures and gave him gifts.

Much has happened since that night of rejoicing and gift giving. Jesus grew up and he submitted to God’s will that he should die on the cross. He resurrected through the Spirit of Holiness and was declared with power to be the Son of God. He received the glory that he had before his incarnation, and now he sits at the right hand of God waiting until he comes again in glory.

Our gifts are offered to Jesus in his glory. There are many gifts that we offer, but like the Magi, we have treasure that we call money. For the benefit of the kingdom and of people we open our treasures and offer gifts to Jesus knowing that when we’ve done if for people, we have done it for him. Paul wrote to the Corinthians, asking them to be motivated by the generous spirit of others to complete an intent to give that was yet uncompleted.

As we consider giving for the year 2008, some questions from Matthew 2 and 2 Corinthians 8 come to mind. Answer these questions for yourself:

1. Does It Reflect Belonging to the Lord or Fearing for Our Own Little Kingdom?
2. Does It Reflect the Gifts We’ve Received?
3. Does It Reflect the Love We Have?
4. If It Is Not As Much As We Would Like To Give, It Is It Growing Toward Our Desire?

That’s Life at Work!

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