It has been a month since my last post—things kept coming up that kept me from having the time to sit down and write. When I did get the chance to sit down to write this post, it was for a book review. However, after having a conversation with someone recently, I believe that God wanted me to share some of my thoughts within that conversation, which became this post.
I recently read the Book of Hosea for the first time after reading a novel, which its premise is that it is a “retelling of the story of Gomer and Hosea.” By the way, I will be doing a book review of the book that I hinted about soon. So, be on the lookout for it. 🙂
Early on in the Book of Hosea, readers are aware that God is not pleased with the Israelites. Why would he be displeased with them? Well, he saved them on more than one occasion (see Exodus as an example); he has given them what they asked—for example, a king (1 Samuel). Yet, they continued to forget about him by putting other gods before him. How would you feel if someone you loved didn’t appreciate all that you’ve done for him or her?
Let us use the upcoming holiday as an illustration. On Sunday, it will be Christmas and many of us will gather in the living room and open those presents that have been lying under the tree calling our names. You remember the rush that runs through you as you open a gift and see exactly what you wanted. You remember the gift(s) that holds special meaning because someone you love knew you so well that he or she got you something unexpected.
In addition to being a receiver, you will also be a giver. As the giver, you spend weeks mulling over what to get your loved one and the day has come for you to see their reaction to what you picked for them. Being a giver can be exciting but it can also be a nervous experience. What happens if they don’t like the gift? At some point, that question entered your mind whilst selecting a gift. When your loved one opens your gift, what would your reaction be if that were the only time he or she touched your gift, for it will be collecting dust somewhere for years to come or they exchanged it for something better. Would it hurt your feelings if they did not thank you for the gift? Suppose they opened it, turned to you, and asked, “Is this it?” or “What else did you get me?” You might think that the two questions they might ask you could come from a child rather than an adult; even so, be honest questions along those lines have played in your mind after opening a gift you deemed terrible.
Regardless, if the receiver’s reaction were negative, you would feel that the time, money, and effort you put into the gift went unappreciated, and you would not feel happy about it. It would influence the way you go about shopping for a gift for them the following year, for you would be hesitant wouldn’t you? Intensify those feelings as though you gave someone everything that they needed. Would you want to keep giving to that person when they keep forgetting about what you’ve done? It’s safe to say that each of our answers would depend on who was not appreciating us. Thousands of years ago, the Israelites were the ones who kept forgetting/ignoring what God had done.
You might see the Israelites actions towards God as wrong after all God had done for them, but can any of us who are Christians in 2016 say that we have never done what the Israelites did? At times, we too have forgotten/ignored all that God’s done for us, and the ways that we have will look different for each of us. For example, while praying, you might focus on asking God for what you don’t have (money, a job, a spouse, a child, a home, etc.), but you neglect to take the time to pause and thank God for what you already have. By taking a moment to thank God, you will remember what he did for you in the past and it will build confidence as you pray that just as God answered then, he will answer now. I know that some of you might feel that you have less to be grateful to God for. There are multitudes of reasons that you might feel this way—the loss of someone you loved might be one reason. Please know that GOD IS THERE FOR YOU DURING THE PAIN. He will give you peace that transcends (Philippians 4:7). Seek him, and He WILL answer.
Wherever you are in your life, those of us who are Christians must show our gratitude for the greatest gift that God has given us: JESUS CHRIST. We must remember him as the reason behind why we gather with our families and friends each December 25 to open a bunch of things. I discussed the second half of a verse, which most people (Christian and non-Christian) have heard, in a previous post. For this post, I want to direct you to the first half of the verse. It says, “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). God loved us so much that he let Jesus die so that we could have the option to avoid paying for our own sins, and so that someday (when our time on earth is done) we can live in heaven with him.
Therefore, in a season that has become about what presents we get, let us wake up Sunday morning, thank God for what he’s given us, and focus on the act of giving. I believe that the act of giving is not about the gift itself, the act is a way to illustrate God’s giving heart, for he gave us the ULTIMATE GIFT in Jesus. The act of giving I believe is also a way to remember that Jesus gave up his brief earthly life to pay the ULTIMATE PRICE by dying for all of our sins.
Moreover, giving is not just something we should do on Christmas Day. Giving should be done EVERY DAY. Let us live each day giving love, giving grace, giving time, giving forgiveness to those around us because those acts are when people see and are drawn to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
All Bible verses are from Holy Bible: New International Version