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True Delight in the Gift Giver

All gifts pass away––no matter what they are. Even expensive and valuable gifts won’t last forever. Gifts are temporary, never meant to last.

Don’t believe me? Think about it—that awesome new computer, your high tech 3D TV, your shiny brand new car, that sweet iPhone or iPad. They will all break, get old, wear out with time. They really aren’t meant to last forever.

Likewise, physical and spiritual gifts pass away too. The gift of athletic ability obviously doesn’t last forever. With age, our bodies become stiff, and move more slowly. With age, we also become less mentally sharp—so that we actually think and speak more slowly. As I get older, the gift I have to perform surgery becomes more diminished.

The Bible has a verse with a profound and lifechanging message for us.

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadow” (James 1:17).

What’s the implied message? It’s that every gift comes from God, but our delight should not be in the gifts we are given, but in the Gift Giver—the One who never changes, never loses His value, never falls apart with age.

As a father of two kids, I think of this verse when I see my children engulfed in the pleasure of a new gift, captivated by something different to the point that they totally forget who gave them the gift. I think that we all, far too often, are guilty of acting like children and forgetting Who it is who gives us our gifts. We easily forget that every good and perfect gift comes from above. Every gift! Not some, not most, not the majority—but every gift! How easy it is to delight in the gifts we receive but forget the Gift Giver.

It blesses my heart when my children turn around in the middle of enjoying their gifts and come to me with an expression of thanks. Nothing makes me want to give my children more gifts than when they express their delight and thankfulness for gifts I give them. And nothing makes me regret giving my children gifts more than if they show hearts of ungratefulness. I believe it is the same with our Father in Heaven. What joy and blessing He must receive when we turn to Him and delight in Him as the Gift Giver.

I, too, need to remind myself to show gratefulness for the gifts I receive every single day. My family is a gift from God. My wife is a gift; my kids are precious gifts. They have been entrusted to me to care for, love, and guide. I delight in them, but my greater delight is in the perfect One who gave them to me. All my gifts—my skills, my career, my talent—mean nothing if I fail to delight in the One who is the giver of the gifts.

Let us remember each day, with every single gift we enjoy, to delight not in the gift but in the Holy One who gives the gifts. Every moment we live, and every breath we take is a gift from God. “Every good and perfect gift comes from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” Let us allow the heavenly Gift Giver to fill our thirsty souls with every good and perfect gift.

(Diamond Tam is a clinical assistant professor of ophthalmology at Stanford University and lives in the Bay Area with his wife and two children.)

Article Link: http://ccmusa.org/read/read.aspx?id=chg20110204
To reuse online, please credit Challenger, Apr-Jun 2011. CCMUSA.