By Joe Chesser
It’s the week after Thanksgiving, and you know what that means – shopping for Christmas is now officially open, and at a frenzied pace. We may not be spending quite as much this year as in years past, but that only makes shopping for just the right gift that much more important. For some people, gift giving is simple. They always know just the right thing to buy, and always in just the right size and color. They just have a knack for buying gifts. Others are more like me. I struggle with what to buy, finally make a decision, and a week later find something that would have been better. So now, do I take back the first gift and buy the second, or do I just give what I already have (I’m asking for help here!)? I wish I knew the perfect gift to give each person on my list.
Actually, I do. I know the perfect gift, and it’s something I can give to everyone, whether on my list or not. The best gift I can possibly give cannot be purchased at WalMart or order online. This gift is not something I have to save for, nor is it like any gift anyone else can give. It’s unique, it’s one of a kind, and I am the only one who can give it. That gift, of course, is me – myself!
I am the best gift I can give my wife, my children and my grandchildren. I am the best gift I can give my neighbor and co-worker. I am the best gift I can give those I know and even those I don’t know, those who are poor and those who are wealthy, those who are young and those who are old. I am even the best gift I can give my Lord. I know this is true because I learned it from Him.
From Paul’s words in Galatians 2:20 we learn: “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” I crucify myself because he allowed himself to be crucified. I love him because he first loved me (1 John 4:10, 19). Giving ourselves to God and others is the absolute best gift we can possibly give. Nothing is a close second. Would my wife prefer a new watch more than my time, my affection, my attention? Not in a hundred lifetimes! Would my children, grandchildren, fellow Christians – anyone – prefer gifts from Target? No. And neither would God.
The Corinthians are forever remembered because “they gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us in keeping with the Lord’s will” (2 Cor. 8:5). Nothing you can buy will ever substitute for giving yourself. It’s fun to exchange wrapped presents at Christmas, but never forget that the gift that most people truly need and want, the perfect gift, is you. Give yourself wrapped in love!
- Joe Chesser preaches for the Fruitland Church of Christ, Fruitland, MO. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org