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During the Christmas season, much is said about giving, and rightly so. "For God so loved the world that He gave…” is perhaps the most profound and sublime statement in all of Scripture. Jesus gave totally and completely of Himself, and thank God that He did. We have life today—eternal life and abundant life—because of how He gave. We know that we have infinite value because of Jesus giving Himself for us and to us.

Giving from the heart (not from compulsion, guilt, pressure, manipulation, etc.) energizes both givers and recipients, and expresses the beauty of grace.

Gerda Weissmann Klein remarked,
Most people think the Holocaust camps were like snake pits – that people stepped on each other for survival. It wasn't like that at all. There was kindness, support, understanding. A childhood friend of mine, Ilse, once found a raspberry in the camp and carried it in her pocket all day to present to me that night on a leaf. Those are the moments I want to remember. People behaved nobly under unspeakable circumstances.
That's grace! That's beautiful giving! While Jesus was the greatest giver of all, He was also a recipient of the generosity of others. I want us to look at some of the gifts Jesus received while here on earth.

1. The Gifts of the Wise Men
And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
(Matt. 2:11)

Have you ever stopped to think of the significance of these gifts?
  • Gold was a gift for a king – a precious metal suitable for royalty.
  • Frankincense was a gift suited for a priest – in the Old Testament, frankincense was one of the ingredients in the perfume of the sanctuary and was used in accompaniment with certain offerings.
  • Myrrh was a gift for one who would die – among other things, myrrh was used in the embalming process. In this case, it spoke of and foreshadowed the fact that Jesus had come to die to take away the sin of the world.
2. The Gifts of Friends
Luke 8:1-3 describes Jesus traveling and ministering with the twelve, and also mentions certain women by name (such as Mary Magdalene and Joanna, the wife of Herod's business manager) and other unnamed women, "…who were of such a nature that they kept on supplying them with food and the other necessities of life out of their possessions" (Luke 8:3, Wuest). Jesus lived a life of giving, but He also received from others.

3. The Extravagant Gift of Devotion
Shortly before His death, a woman came to Jesus with a very costly flask of perfume and poured it on His head. Judas and others were angry at the seeming waste, because the value of this perfume was equivalent to a year's wages. Instead of sharing in their indignation, Jesus said:
Let her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a good work for Me. For you have the poor with you always, and whenever you wish you may do them good; but Me you do not have always. She has done what she could. She has come beforehand to anoint My body for burial. Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her.
(Mark 14:6-9)
In this passage, one can see Jesus' appreciation for the gift that was bestowed upon Him. I especially like His recognition that, "She has done what she could." There was something about this that truly touched Jesus' heart. In the Greek, that literally reads, "What she had she did."  This woman's giving was not mechanical or obligatory; it came from her heart, and it impressed Jesus.

Ministers often promote giving, but we see that Jesus also received. We pray that this will be a season of receiving and giving for you. We pray that your heart will be open to realize that when it comes to God, "What He had, He did."  He's done so much and continues to do so much for all of us. And as you partake of His blessings and strength, may you then be a conduit of His grace to others.

Copyright © Tony Cooke Ministries

All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Author Biography

Tony Cooke
Web site: Tony Cooke Ministries
 
Since 2002, Tony and Lisa have traveled full-time with an assignment of “Strengthening Churches and Leaders.” Tony’s passion for teaching the Bible has taken him to forty-six states and twenty-six nations. Tony, and Lisa reside in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma and are the parents of two adult children, Laura and Andrew.
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