One Christmas not long ago, my wife came up with an impishly fun way to give our teen-age nephew his present from us. My brother’s family came over for the evening and when it was time, Peggy presented Michael with a small box, neatly wrapped. Michael eagerly opened the box only to find a pin—nothing more, just a pin. I half-way expected a thank you—you know, the obligatory-but-disingenuous kind. Instead, he muttered with refreshing candor, “That’s not funny.” As we all laughed and enjoyed the moment, Peggy pulled out the second part of the gift, an inflated balloon. Michael got it. He took the pin, popped the balloon and reaped the cash tucked away inside. Smiles all around.
God’s word tells us that “every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father,”1 yet I wonder how many times we open the “pin” or even the “balloon,” but stop well short of the true riches God wants to give us. No, I’m not talking about a winning lottery ticket, a new Cadillac (I’d prefer a Benz, anyway), or any of the treasures of this world. I’m talking about the important things in life: a deeper realization of God’s love, the means to be a blessing in other people’s lives, and the grace to glorify God in His heavens and grow His kingdom here on earth. These are the presents that bring us joy; these are the riches that multiply; these are the packages that reflect the heart of the One who gives them.
Salvation in Christ is a treasure beyond measure; we do well to savor it with our entire being. Yet our Father has so much more to give us—so much love to pour out on us—so that our joy is even greater and our lives ever more fruitful. Knowing this, the apostle Paul prayed for the Ephesian church, asking God to open their eyes to all of His gifts for them. Today, pray it for yourself and for the church on earth, and thank God for His faithfulness in hearing our prayer and for His joy in giving us His greatest gifts.
I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. (Ephesians 1:17-19a)
1 James 1:17