The Gift From God
2Corinthians 9:15 Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!
I remember one year as a child; all I wanted for Christmas was the new Atari 5200 game console. It was going to be the latest and best video game system ever! I remember setting my sights on it early and begging my parents for it. I remember unwrapping it and the sureness I felt in my soul that my life was now complete or at least it would be when I bought some games for it!
And I played the Atari system. I wore it out. At least for about a year. Then the novelty wore off. The games were all over played and the newer system, ColecoVision was the latest and best game system on the market. What my whole world revolved around one Christmas became obsolete by the following Christmas. That is the nature of temporal gifts. That is the value of what we get from the world. The sweater we loved last year is now out of style, or faded. The new computer we just brought home becomes archaic by the time we hook it up. Even the fancy Lexus with a bow on it (does anyone really get that for Christmas?) will be surpassed by newer models in the very-near future. Yet this is what we seem to place value on in our lives. Jesus warned us about just this problem:
"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6: 19-21
Those designer jeans we just have to have will go the way of the moth. That brand new car will rust with time. Temporal gifts simply do not last. So when we place too much value on them, we are inevitably disappointed when their value changes, they become out dated, or as the scripture says, thieves break in and steal them. These verses from Matthew represent a heart issue. The theology of the world says "he who dies with the most toys wins" but the reality is very clear in the Bible:
Do not be overawed when a man grows rich, when the splendor of his house increases; for he will take nothing with him when he dies, his splendor will not descend with him. Though while he lived he counted himself blessed-- and men praise you when you prosper- he will join the generation of his fathers, who will never see the light of life. A man who has riches without understanding is like the beasts that perish. Psalm 49: 16-20
He who dies with the most toys does not get to take any with him AND he is still dead. When he dies, all of the temporal possessions he valued so much in life are stripped away. Prosperity has been so confused in the modern American church. It has been blurred with the things of this world. Prosperity doctrine has taken so many captive with the notion that the blessings of God are temporal in nature. While it is true that God does prosper us materially within the confines of this world, the true gift of God this Christmas season and every season that preceded and is to come, is eternal in nature. Christmas has taken on a far worldlier slant than it should. Materialism and greed permeate the holiday reserved for the day when God delivered unto us the greatest gift we can ever receive in His only son Jesus Christ:
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16
Shall not perish but have eternal life. We speak often about the eternal life side of this equation but tend to veer away from the perishing side. Perhaps because it makes us feel uncomfortable. Just like there is a heaven to gain beloved, there is a hell to shun. There is a hell to avoid. The enemy likes to distract us with the things of this world to get our focus off of God and the eternal. But realize this Christmas the true nature of this life we live on earth: