Gifts are given and received on many occasions. It is part of many cultures. Today we are talking about gifts from God.
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Recently I celebrated a birthday. In our culture, it is traditional to give someone you are close to a gift on their birthday. A few days before my birthday my daughter asked me what I would like for my gift from her. I smiled and said whatever you would like to give me. I went on to explain to her that a gift is not about what someone wants or desires. A gift is an outpouring of love or friendship and should come from the heart. It doesn’t need to be purchased and it doesn’t need to be extravagant.
One of my favorite gifts I have ever received was a Christmas gift from Kelly one year. It was a new coffee mug. Kelly knows I like coffee very much. The special part about this coffee mug was the picture on it. The picture was of my three children all together. This was many years ago, and I still cherish this simple gift.
Sometimes gifts are given to meet a need or desire, but what makes it a gift is the receiver is being honored or appreciated. Different cultures view giving gifts differently. In some cultures, it is tradition to bring a small gift when you visit someone’s home. This is a small token of thanks for the invitation to visit. However, other cultures do the opposite. When you visit someone’s home, they give you a gift as a thank you for accepting their invitation.
Gifts come from the heart and gifts from God are no different. God is the ultimate gift giver. Today we are looking at a few ways God gives gifts and what they are. We’ll also talk about why he gives us each of these, and remember gifts from God always come with love from his heart and serve a purpose.
Gift of Life in This World
The first gift from God we want to talk about is the gift of life in this world. We have all been born into this world with a father and a mother, but it is God who breathes life into us.
Genesis 2:7 says:
(7) Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.
And Psalm 139:13-14 says:
(13) For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. (14) I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
It has been said the greatest legacy we can leave in this world is our children. Our children are a gift from God to us and he leaves them to us to raise in his ways so they leave a mark in this world that points to God.
The gift of life originates from the Lord and is perpetuated throughout time in us. All life has been created by God and he creates us and gives us life for fellowship with him. Our children, and the children we take in and are given to influence, are very much gifts of life to us and to this world.
Gifts for Each of Us Individually
Sometimes gifts are given that are a celebration and also useful in a future endeavor. I think of the young person who completes some form of technical education or apprenticeship and is given a gift of tools to now work in that trade. Or I think of the family that is trying to rebuild their lives after tragedy or disaster and someone gives them a gift of a home.
There is an old saying that says, “It’s not the value or size of a gift that matters. It is the thought or heart behind it that counts.” I agree with that completely. I shared earlier about my daughter asking me what I wanted for my birthday. I want whatever your heart wants to share with me. This makes each gift individualized and it means something.
This is exactly what God does. He gives us gifts that we need and can use, and they are gifts straight from his heart to each one of us individually.
God has created each one of us with a specific plan and purpose for our lives. He doesn’t stop there, though. God then equips us for that plan and purpose.
Jeremiah 29:11 says:
(11) For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
God knows what he created each one of us for, and he plans to see us succeed in that plan and purpose. He will give us everything we need to carry it out just as a new tradesman starts with the tools necessary to succeed. We don’t need to worry about it either. God is faithful to complete in us what he starts.
Philippians 1:4-6 says:
(4) In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy (5) because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, (6) being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
God will give you what you need to accomplish what he has planned for you and called you to do. You cannot do it without his gifts either.
1 Corinthians 7:7 says:
1 Corinthians 7:7
(7) I wish that all of you were as I am. But each of you has your own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that.
Some of God’s gifts to you will be tangible, some will be through the Holy Spirit, but in either case, they will be useful for the call God has on your specific life and circumstances.
God’s Ultimate Gift for Everyone
We spoke about God’s gift of life in this world, but that’s only for 70 years or so. God has an ultimate gift for each one of us and we only need to receive it. It is there for us as soon as we’re ready to accept it. God’s ultimate gift to all of mankind is eternal life.
There are many passages of scripture that speak to this ultimate gift from God. Let’s read a few.
Jesus is recorded saying this in John 4:10:
(10) Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”
Romans 6:23 says:
(23) For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
And Ephesians 2:8-9 says:
(8) For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— (9) not by works, so that no one can boast.
The gift of eternal life cannot be earned and it is definitely not deserved. We deserve death and eternity in Hell apart from God, but He sacrificed his one and only son so that we could have eternal life. God sent Jesus into this world to save us all from our sin, Hell, and the grave. His sacrifice on that Roman cross 2000 years ago was to pay the price for our sins once and for all. This is God’s ultimate gift to us. Don’t let it go to waste.
God wants you to be in fellowship with him. He wants to see you succeed and fulfill the calling he has placed on your life from the time he stitched you together and breathed life into you. This gift of eternal life is free. All you need to do is accept it. Accept Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior. Look to him and learn from him. Share your experience and what God does in your life with others.
The ultimate gift from God is eternal life and it only comes through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
We could go on and on about God’s gifts to people. We may put together another teaching on some other specific gifts God has for us, like the gifts of the Holy Spirit and their practicality in everyday life. But today, we want to encourage you to look around you and see the gifts God has given you. It starts with the gift of life, then continues with practical things you can use in your everyday life to fulfill the call God has on your life. Finally, the ultimate gift from God is eternal life through Jesus Christ.