Gifts Always Say
Gifts are, according to Dr. Gary Chapman (the author of The Five Love Languages) a “love language”. I suspect though that the best-selling author may have misrepresented the linguistic power of gifts as only capable of expressing degrees of the warmest aspects of a person’s affection for another. Take it from me, gifts not only speak the dialect of affection, they also speak volumes about what a person feels generally – and who this giver really is.
And David said longingly, “Oh, that someone would give me water to drink from the well of Bethlehem that is by the gate!” Then the three mighty men broke through the camp of the Philistines and drew water out of the well of Bethlehem that was by the gate and carried and brought it to David. But he would not drink of it. He poured it out to the LORD.
Second Samuel 23:15-16
Every gift narrates a story. When David’s mighty men brought their Commander a cup of cold water from the well of Bethlehem, they weren’t just giving him water. This gift in a cup told a story that introduced three loyal and devoted generals who were prepared to risk their lives to bring delight to their king. This well-water spoke the language of war and told of night skirmishes, breaching through enemy ranks in the dead of the night – just to get a cup of Bethlehem well water. This cup of water spoke volumes about their unquestioned willingness to obey David. Little wonder then that David, who was fluent in the language of Gift, recognised that such use of this language by these mighty generals was not merely the vocabulary of devotion but was in fact: worship (the highest form of love), which is why he poured it out on the ground to the Lord as a gift to God.
One of the most embarrassing experiences Kim and I have ever had with gift giving happened at a time when we were particularly struggling financially. We had been given a very beautiful under-glass torsion-pendulum clock. It was still in its original box. We thought it would make a great Christmas gift for my brother and his wife. When my brother rang to thank me for this most generous gift, his first statement was: “That church you served at in Melbourne must have really loved you guys!”
“They sure did!” I replied.
“Yeah, I could tell by what they engraved on the brass base of the clock you just gave me!”
No matter how much I pleaded with my brother to let me redeem my embarrassment, he was adamant there was no way he was going to give this back – or let me ever live it down! We had made a terrible mistake with the language of gifts. We had given a gift that had cost us nothing.
Then Araunah said to David, “Let my lord the king take and offer up what seems good to him. Here are the oxen for the burnt offering and the threshing sledges and the yokes of the oxen for the wood. All this, O king, Araunah gives to the king.” And Araunah said to the king, “May the LORD your God accept you.” But the king said to Araunah, “No, but I will buy it from you for a price. I will not offer burnt offerings to the LORD my God that cost me nothing.” So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver.
King David didn’t make my embarrassing gift-giving mistake. As the above Scripture passage tells, he refused to give God any gift that cost him nothing. He could not give a gift that didn’t speak the language of the best gifts fluently. Neither would he give God second best gifts. He taught his son Solomon the language of gift-giving-
¶ Honor the LORD with your wealth
and with the firstfruits of all your produce;
then your barns will be filled with plenty,
and your vats will be bursting with wine.
To be a Christian requires speaking the language the gifts. It starts with the gift of our lives to God in response to His gift of His life to us. This is why the Apostle Paul in his epistle explaining what it means to be a Christian (the Epistle to the Romans) says that living as a Christian starts by-
¶ I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.
And as the Apostle concludes his Epistle to the Romans, the language of Gifts becomes even clearer as describes the gifts God has given each one of us to give to others (Romans 12:4-6) and then how we are to live as a local church by giving not just our gifts but ourselves to our church family (Romans 12:9-21).
It is my hope that we can each learn the language of Gifts by discovering God’s great gift of His Son to us, the various gifts He has given to us to share with His other great gift to us – our spiritual family, our local church. As we learn the language of Gifts we learn thatwhy we give is a direct reflection of what we give. This is why Jesus commended the poor woman who gave two small copper coins as being more generous than the wealthy who only gave to be seen and impress others (Mark 12:42).
Christ deserves our best – not our leftovers
For all that Christ has given us, let us give Him our best – our best effort, our best talents, our best attention, our best gifts, so that more people will come to receive His best gift for them.See you in “the Gift Centre” (church) this weekend.