On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.
— Matthew 2:11
While this verse is most often associated with Christmas, I can think of no other event that should merit more thanksgiving on this day. We read that the wise men bowed before Jesus, worshipped him and gave him expensive gifts.
As we spend today thankful for the good things in our lives, I have a question: how do we view our material possessions in relation to Jesus? In other words, how does our relationship with God affect what we do with the things that we possess?
The amount of money that we have does not change what money is. All currency has a fixed value. But how we feel when we spend our money changes. For example, if we buy a bottle of water for ourselves, there is little emotion in the transaction. But if we donate money to drill a desperately needed water well in Africa, we feel differently. Similarly, when we buy toys and clothes for needy families during our annual churchwide Sharing Christmas program, we find great joy in spending our money.
While the mundane regimen of bill paying is necessary, the role of money in our lives as a means to bless others and live in obedience to Scripture should always guide how we disperse it. If we are children of Jesus and representatives of the good news of the Gospel, we must view money as a tool of blessing.
Do we quietly whisper, “Thank you God,” when we make a regular contribution to our church, or do we silently view giving at church as a membership fee?
The author of the book of Job asks:
If you are righteous, what do you give to Him, or what does He receive from your hand.
— Job 35:7
“What shall I render to the Lord for all his benefits toward me?”
— Psalm 116:12
David also asks of the Lord:
“But who am I, and who are my people that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand.”
— 1 Chronicles 29:14
The gifts that the wise men gave at the birth of Jesus were an important part of their worship of him. On this day — our annual holiday of Thanksgiving — let us remember the gift of salvation, the forgiveness of our sins, and the eternal hope that he has given us. And, in our time of Thanksgiving, let us purpose to be disciplined and joyful givers, returning to God what comes from his hand.