Head banner.
CCM Periodicals Reading Room   


The Value of a Gift

Christmas is a time when gifts are given and received. And this practice of giving and receiving gifts is quite an interesting phenomenon. Invariably the internal questioning begins: What should we buy? What does the person need that I can afford? Will my gift match up in value with what the person might give me?

Afterwards, when the gift giving is done, we may continue to wonder how much was paid for the gift we received, or to hope the other persons don’t find out we bought their gift at 70 percent off!

The value of a gift—how do we measure it? We might measure it by how much it cost the giver. And it could be measured by how much it was truly needed by the recipient––how much it benefited them.

In the Christmas event, when we think of God’s gift to us, its value cannot be defined by words. The Apostle Paul said God’s gift was “indescribable” and “unspeakable.” The gift God gave was the gift of His Son to us.

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich. (II Corinthians 8:9)

The Cost to the Giver

The Lord Jesus Christ deliberately decided to leave behind the place of glory He had shared with the Father from all eternity, and to enter into our world as a mere babe. He chose to give up all that was His as God to assume a position of poverty—to give up a position of power to assume one of weakness. God the Son chose to assume a human nature and body, and live out a human life as one of His own creatures. His station in life was not a position of privilege, but one of relative poverty and humility. His earthly family was one of modest means. Christ, as a member of the Godhead, was infinite in power and authority, infinite in wisdom and knowledge, unlimited with regard to space and time, completely separate from sin and the pollution of the world’s evil. Yet He entered into our world as a little child. He gave up the independent use of His divine attributes, and chose to subject Himself to all the trials and struggles of human existence. And beyond that, He chose to bear the sins of the world.

Who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped (or held on to), but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Philippians 2:6-8)

Christ first emptied Himself by becoming a man. He then humbled Himself by surrendering His life on the cross (the most humiliating form of execution ever devised by man). The gift of Christmas was infinite in cost to the giver!

The Benefit to the Recipient

The other measurement of value is the benefit of the gift to the recipients. Christ bore an infinite cost for your sake ... so that you through His poverty might become rich. The implication is that we who are poor in spirit might be made rich. As Jesus Himself said, He came to save the lost, to call sinners to repentance, to heal those who recognize they are spiritually sick. And this gift was given in grace! That is, not for those who are in any way entitled to it ... but to those who are anything but entitled to it.

Christians should never grow accustomed to the grace given us in Christ. The scriptures urge us to remember that without Christ we are spiritually without hope. We are described as dead in trespasses and sins (powerless to overcome our sinful ways) ... darkened in our understanding, and hardened in heart . . . as having no hope and without God in the world ... that once we were foolish, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another ... and headed for an eternity away from the presence of God.

These descriptions of human lostness are no exaggeration. Without Christ, every aspect of our being is infected by sin.

But the good news is that Christ has rescued us. Because of His willingness to sacrifice Himself in our behalf, everything has changed. Not only have we been granted a pardon for our sins, but we’ve been given a new heart. The Holy Spirit has taken up residence within us, to guide and enlighten us, and change us. And we are assured of an eternity in glory that will far outweigh even the most painful realities of life in this world.

So how ought we to respond to such a gift? The most obvious way is by giving God our deepest gratitude, our worship, and our love. We ought also to be agents of His grace to others—to people in our own family and people around the world, even to people whom we might view as being “undeserving” of such a gift. For no one deserves God’s grace! We are all in need of the gift only God can give.

A Prayer

“Lord Jesus, as we contemplate the value of what You have done for us ... the measure of its cost to You, and of its benefit to us, help us to worship You not only by our lips, but also by our lives. Help us to extend Your grace to a needy world. In Your holy name we pray. Amen.”

(Richard D. Rood serves as chaplain at Dallas Regional Medical Center, Mesquite, Texas, and also at Green Oaks PsychiatricHospital, Dallas, Texas. He has a heart for missions, and has worked with ACTS International, teaching Bible and theology for Christian workers to unreached people.)

Article Link: http://ccmusa.org/read/read.aspx?id=chg20110405
To reuse online, please credit Challenger, Oct-Dec 2011. CCMUSA.