Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Gift or the Giver?

I always loved getting the Sears Wish Book Catalog in the mail.  I would spend hours pouring over the pages, trying to decide what I wanted for Christmas.  When I was about eight years old I saw the perfect gift.  It was a football uniform, complete with a helmet and shoulder pads.  If only I could have a football uniform!  I could be the best player on our street.  I could tackle my big brother and it wouldn’t hurt.  I would be invincible, and of course, all of the girls would admire me.

I told my parents that I wanted the football uniform that I had seen in the catalog.  Like most parents, they didn’t let on that they would get it for me.  I’m sure they realized how impractical it would be for me to be the only kid on the street with a helmet and pads.  But they loved me and wanted to give me what I wanted for Christmas.  I waited with great anticipation until that glorious morning arrived.  I saw the box under the tree and immediately knew my dream had come true.  I had a football uniform, the very one I had seen in the Sears Wish Book!

I was excited that my parents had given me what I had asked for.  I knew they loved me and wanted to give me what I wanted.  But in my youth, I wasn’t really tuned in to that truth.  Their love for me was a given.  But I didn’t know if I would get the football uniform I had asked for until I opened the present on Christmas day.  My waiting, my anticipation, my hope was all wrapped up in the gift, with very little thought given to the desire of my parents to give me what I wanted.

We often approach God in this same way.  We have needs and desires that we pray for.  We know that God loves us and that He wants to give us good things.  As we pray and wait with anticipation, we sometimes become impatient.  We focus our attention more and more on what it is that we are asking for.  We share our desires with our friends and ask them to pray that God will give us what we desire.  After a period of waiting, if God has not granted our request, we become frustrated and wonder why He is taking so long.

Perhaps God is waiting for us to turn our attention from the gift to the Giver.  He wants us to find our satisfaction in Him, not in the things He gives us.  Look beyond the gift and seek the Giver.  The gift will come at the perfect time.

“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”  (Matthew 6:33 ESV)

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