Who doesn’t enjoy receiving a gift? We remember the special gifts from our childhood long after they have rusted in some landfill. The chemistry set with several dozen jars of chemicals, test tubes, a beaker, and—best of all—a Bunsen burner when I was ten. The bright red 26” bike when I was eleven or twelve. Both particularly valued because my parents did not have a lot of money at the time. As we grow older, our values change, and the gifts we cherish most cannot be purchased with money,: the handmade card from a little grandchild, the genuine warmth of fellowship in the Lord with loved ones. Then, too, we also find ourselves enjoying the giving more than the getting. Young ones cannot understand or even believe the joy that derives from giving. Maybe it is at that point that we get an inkling of the character of God, who “loves a cheerful giver” (II Cor. 9:7c) because that person mirrors the character of the Lord, who is the most magnanimous, generous, selfless giver in the universe. For as the hymnwriter marveled: “He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again.”
“If you knew the gift of God,” Jesus said to the Samaritan woman at the well, “you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water” (John 4:10). So simple, so generous. We teach our children, and rightly so, that it is impolite to ask for things, particularly from a stranger. Here is a stranger who invites a request. What sort of person walks around seeking out other people in order to invite them to receive a present at his expense? What sort of person just waits for someone to make a request of him, and when that someone does not show up, goes out and finds someone on whom to bestow a gift?
Do you remember when you got the “big gift” knowing you were at the end of the line; nothing more was coming? Well, God’s gifts just keep coming. James assures us that “every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow” (1:17). The gifts from God do not dry up. They come at Christmas, on our birthday, on our anniversary, and every other day. And they are infinite and eternal. “The free gift of God is eternal life,” Paul assured the Romans (6:23), a life that will never cease, never grow old, never cloy, never become dull routine nor drudgery. A life that will be fresh, new, exciting, fulfilling, and infinitely worthwhile. And it is so because this gift of eternal life is also “the gift orf righteousness” (Rom. 5:17). Imagine a life free from sin—any and every sin!—free from any taint of guilt or remorse, free from its burdensome consequences. No wondering who will discover some dark secret, who would have anything to do with me if they only knew what was in my heart. No fearing what I might do if the temptation came at the right occasion. And we have not even mentioned that we are “heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ” (Rom. 8:17), nor that we have been chosen to be Christ’s bride and to sit with Him on His throne.
But wait. We’re not done yet. For we find Paul exclaiming to the Corinthians: “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!” (II Cor. 9:15). Indescribable. He does not say that about salvation, eternal life, fellow-heirship with Christ, nor co-regency with Him. Though we cannot more than begin to comprehend or appreciate those gifts, apparently, they are “describable.” But when God gave us the gift of His Son, that gift leaves Paul without words to express it. God has freely, lavishly, and lovingly given us His Son to know, to love, and to cherish. The husband and wife looking at the smoldering ashes of their home, hold each other close and rejoice that, though they’ve lost all their worldly possessions, they still have each other and their children, for that is most precious. And they would not sell one child for all the wealth of the world. Even so, but to an infinite degree, it is with Christ. To know His mind and heart, to hear and understand His words completely, to feel His perfect approbation and love, and to serve together both with and for Him are an indescribable gift. Nothing more precious exists . . . or could exist. It is no secondhand, third-rate, bargain basement gift that God has given us, but His beloved Son, God incarnate, the Creator of the universe, and the Darling of heaven. And how He delights to give! “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!”
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