The Gift of the Wise
“On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me…” might be the medley of a catchy Christmas Carol running through your head as you eagerly seek out the perfect gifts for your loved ones to open Christmas morning. Many see Christmas as the last day of the year to show their loved one's just how much they care. This final opportunity for gift giving is the chance to make up for missed birthdays, anniversaries and other celebratory occasions. Spending can spiral out of control. Sometimes the pressure to find the perfect gift is so great, that it’s easy to lose sight of being practical.
Most of us try to be smart about it. The smart shopper peruses Black Friday Deals, and Cyber Monday specials. Throughout the holiday season we catch those BOGO’s, Flash Sales, Last Minute Specials and of course, Free Shipping. We make lists and keep our eyes open. There’s another tactic to smart shopping that is often overlooked. Among the madness we can be mindful. God’s word helps us to do just that!
We hear “God loves a cheerful giver.” And he does! We give because He gave. 2 Corinthians 9:7 teaches us how to give. The Word says we must decide what to give, before we give, so we are without regret or impulse. Following this advice, protects our spending from spiraling. Also, Romans 13:8 says we should “Owe nothing to anyone”. So when we ditch the plastic (credit cards) and dish out the green (cash), we avoid reaching those credit card limits and ending up in greater debt. Even in Jesus’ time there were consequences to outstanding debt. Proverbs 22:26-27 teaches us, “Do not be a man who strikes hands in pledge or puts up security for debts; if you lack the means to pay, your very bed will be snatched from under you”. Yes, the Repo-Man came knocking on doors back then.
God’s Word also protect us from shopping in vain. This may be the time of year we justify buying elaborate gifts just to get the “wow” factor. As exciting as this may be, God finds this foolish. Luke 12:15-21 (NLT) quotes Jesus stating: “Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own… Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God.”
But what kind of gift can we give to help build relationships with the Lord? Nothing you can buy on a shelf can guarantee this, however investing in a beautiful Bible or a book or video gift set on a specific teaching may serve in nurturing a relationship the Lord seeks with each one of us. We can get the “wow” factor and bring glory to God at the same time.
Jesus told his disciples in John 6:12, “Now gather the leftovers, so that nothing is wasted.” He may have been speaking about left over food, but this principle can be applied to the holiday season. This is something we may not want to admit we have done, but I imagine you have done it, or had it done to you…Re-gifting. Re-gifting has become popular in recent years. Everyone looks forward to getting those gifts they don’t really need just so they can re-wrap them and pass them along. Or, we buy things for people under the impression that they “need” to have it, just to have it passed it along. Regardless, Jesus does not want us to be wasteful, so pass those gifts along!
Deciphering what a person really needs is a smart and practical way to shop. This isn’t as easy as it seems, our ways are not His ways, (the Lord ways) so what we may see as a need is not always a need. A simple prayer to hear from the Lord on what to buy may help you find that necessary gift. After all, God promises in Philippians 4:19 to “Supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus”. Allow yourself to be used this holiday season to meet the need of those you love by allowing God to inspire the gift.
This Christmas season, we can apply the principals of the Lord to our spending and be a smart shopper. With the Lord’s guidance and wisdom, you can make sure your wages [don’t] disappear as though you were putting them in pockets filled with holes! (Haggai 1:6)