When I was in the second or third grade, I got an unusual haul from Santa Claus. Before I indicate the actual gifts, I probably ought to tell a quick story. As a kid, I loved to work with my dad’s tools. I frequently would “borrow” them and then leave them scattered all over the yard. He frowned on that.
Back to my gifts that year. I got my favorite new dolly and a new red wagon. But I also got a leather tool belt complete with my own hammer, several screwdrivers, a tape measure and a sack of nails. I was thrilled!
Those gifts perfectly matched me! I loved my dolly, but I also loved making tree forts. My parents (oops, Santa Claus) knew me so well that they were able to choose gifts that perfectly matched my interests. They were great gifts that suited me.
That’s exactly the message James is giving in James 1:17. God is the expert on gifts that are good. He only gives good gifts to His children. And those good gifts don’t change in quality based on our mood or behavior.
Sometimes those gifts are some “stuff” that we need in our everyday life. Sometimes those gifts take time to be identified as “good.” (God is working on something in our character.) Sometimes those gifts are spiritual gifts that we need to exercise within the body of Christ. And sometimes those gifts are immaterial “things” that will last for eternity.
Ephesians 1:13-14 lists five gifts that we all can treasure. Paul tells us that in Christ, we have the Holy Spirit. We have been endowed with faith that leads to our gift of forgiveness. We have been given our church to serve in this side of glory and we have been given heaven as our gift for eternal life.
Some commentaries see seven gifts in the New Testament, things like wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude and so on. Others see a set of 12 gifts extended to believers. Regardless of how you count those lists, Romans 11:29 states that they are irrevocable. God will never take them back.
So, as you and I spend the next few weeks running around town looking for good gifts for family and friends, let’s remember this truth. The Lord wants to bless us with His good gifts so we can then represent Him and bless others in His name.
Some of those gifts may be things like TIME, a LISTENING EAR, or FORGIVENESS. Let’s all concentrate on those gifts first. They do not require a bow!