What Can I Give Him?

We recently observed Epiphany which celebrates the manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles, represented by the Magi.  If you remember the story, these wise men from the East came bringing gifts.

On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. ” Matthew 2:11

Reading this as part of my devotions made me remember a poem by Christina Rossetti:

“What can I give Him,
Poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd
I would bring a lamb,
If I were a Wise Man
I would do my part,–
Yet what I can I give Him,
Give my heart.”

Then I wondered, how about each of us?  What can we give Him?  Here’s a quote by John Ellerton ( English clergyman and hymnodist) that expresses it well.

“Give yourselves anew to God and to God’s service, and He will give you the desire and the power to open your treasures;  to give to Him, it may be wealth, it may be time, it may be personal service, it may be life itself.  In His store there is a place for all, for the tears of the penitent, the barley loaves of the child, the two mites of the widow, the savings of the Philippians’ ‘deep poverty’, as well as for Mary’s ointment, for the land of Barnabas, for the gold and incense and myrrh of these Eastern sages.  And if the vision of Christ be before his eyes, and the love of Christ be in his heart, the man of wealth will give his large offering, the man of learning his dear-bought knowledge, the man of business his hard-earned leisure, for the glory of God, for the benefit of his fellow-men, for the Church or for the poor;  to feed the hungry, or to teach the ignorant, to help the struggling, or to guide the erring;  and each gift will be welcomed by Him who gave Himself for us all, and who asks in return for ourselves as a living sacrifice.”

This is a season of giving, and we all have something to give.  It’s a good time to think about our spiritual and material gifts and then decide what we can give back to Jesus who gave everything for us.

For more about the magi see these posts:

Follow the Star

Journey of the Magi by T.S.Eliot

Amahl and the Night Visitors

What is a God Pleasing Sacrifice?

“And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.”  Hebrews 13:16

 

There’s an old saying I’ve heard many times in Christian circles –if the devil can’t make you bad, he’ll make you busy.  When I get together with some of the women of our church, we usually spend time complaining about how busy we are.  Of course, we’re busy doing good things like teaching Sunday School, preparing for Bible study, cooking for fellowship dinners, serving in community organizations — but still, it can become overwhelming.  We lose sight of why we are doing those good things (for the glory of God, as Kate told us in Sacrifice and Love) and they just become items on a ‘to do’ list we need to check off.

 

We can also become so busy we miss the small, yet important things we can do spontaneously every day.  We become too distracted to really listen to our husband, child or friend.  We don’t have time to send a card or note to someone who is ill or a shut-in.  We keep meaning to invite that lonely person to dinner, but never get around to it.  We have good intentions, but you know what they say about that!

 

In Hosea 6:6, God tells us, “For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.”

God doesn’t just want our time, He wants our life. Michele talked about that in the post, Living Sacrifice.  He doesn’t want us to become so caught up with the chores of the church that we neglect His people.  He wants us to read the Bible in order to know Him, not to memorize verses or historical facts.

 

Now I know some of you are thinking, somebody has to do these things!  You’re not alone.  Martha said the same thing in Chapter 10 of the book of Luke.  Do you remember what Jesus told her?

“Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things; one thing is needful…”Luke 10:41-42.

 

We need to be good stewards of our time and talent.  We need to spend time every morning offering the day to God.  Martin Luther did.  Read this quote:

 

If I fail to spend two hours in prayer each morning, the devil gets the victory through the day. I have so much business I cannot get on without spending three hours daily in prayer. –Martin Luther

 

Maybe I can’t live up to this standard, but I can start the day with prayer, asking God to prioritize my time, and use my day in accordance with His plan not mine.  I can pray before I volunteer, and try to listen for direction.  I can stop worrying so much and trust God.  What about you?  What is your plan to become a God-pleasing sacrifice?  Send us your thoughts.