The Gift of God (Part 1)
What is the best gift you have ever been given? Perhaps there are one or two very special gifts that someone has given to you. We normally think of large monetary or material things. Our family has been blessed to have received the gifts of a car and van on several occasions. Thank the Lord for loving people who have cared for us with such helpful and generous gifts. A real need was met with a gift.
What about gifts that are non-tangible? A good name and reputation? A good work ethic? An education? A Christian upbringing?
Eight times in the Bible the phrase “Gift of God” is used. Let’s exam these “gifts of God” and make a personal application to our life. Here they are:
- The Gift of Work: Ecclesiastes 3:13 says, “And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labour, it is the gift of God.”
One person wrote about Princess Anne and said: “She is getting married this Saturday…. Her new fiancée could be a real embarrassment to the royal family—Turns out he has a job and works for a living.” Work is honorable! Even in retirement, we can find work to do and be productive.
While not everyone can work or accomplish the same production, quality, or have the same skills as another person, everyone has some skill they can excel at. Work and the ability to work is rewarding. It is a gift from the Lord. It could be work for a living, or work to help others, either way – we honor the Lord in our work.
Do the best work you can while you are able. At the same time realize, once a day is over, we still need to rest, and prepare for worshipping the Lord in other spiritual ways.
Some people “play at their work and work at their play” while neglecting their worship.
- The Gift of Wealth: Ecclesiastes 5:19 informs, “Every man also to whom God hath given riches and wealth, and hath given him power to eat thereof, and to take his portion, and to rejoice in his labour; this is the gift of God.”
Working hard and working smarter, not harder are both good qualities to have. Again, the ability to work is a gift of God.
While finances and big wallets or bank accounts are not the goal of the Christian, a side benefit of the hard and smart worker is that he will gain in tangible ways. Most people that have a job should be able to have money in the bank and live better than merely pay check to pay check.
Part of the reward of work is the power to but his own food, and buy his own portion, or place to live. Other lessons could be learned then about proper stewardship. When we apply Bible principled stewardship to the finances God has entrusted to us, we will have more than we need and accomplish more for the Gospel than we can even imagine.
Don’t be a miser with the money God gives you to manage. Do you know what a miser is? “A miser: one who experiences a dollar’s worth of frustration when he loses a dime.” Be sure that you do not love money, nor are pre-occupied with the things that money can buy.
- The Gift of Water: John 4:10 relates, “Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.”
Jesus is answering the questions of the “Woman at the Well.” Jesus revealed to her every sin she ever committed. When this woman was seeking physical water, the Lord Jesus offered her spiritual water.
She was thirsty and Jesus was able to give to her something that no water, Gatorade, or other drink could ever satisfy: peace with God and the knowledge of forgiveness of sins.
Jesus is the “water of life.” While many people try “Religion” and “good works” to gain salvation, Jesus offers salvation freely to all who will come unto Him.
You can repent of sin, ask for forgiveness, and receive the gift of eternal life that Jesus made possible when He shed His blood, died on the cross, and then rose to live again.
- The Gift of Wages: Romans 6:23 teaches, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
In the same vein as the “Gift of Water” The Lord gives eternal life – only through Jesus. As humans, we earn a wage for our sinful actions – death. Death is what we truly deserve. Jesus however does not want us to die. We will die physically, but more important than that is spiritual life and death.
Jesus rose again so we could live forever with God. It takes being born again. Jesus completed the work on the Cross. He paid the wages of our sin. HE had no wrong and no sin of His own. He took my sin and paid the price – death with what I earned in wages.
When a person repents of sin and receives the gift of God (Salvation) then he trades his personal wages (death) with Jesus for eternal life. It is an amazingly good deal for us – because we do not deserve life.
- The Gift of Workmanship: Ephesians 2:8-10 speaks plainly and directly, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”
The hand of God (grace) reaches to us and we take our hand (Faith) and place it in the hand of God. Grace and faith are how a person is saved. God’s grace is extended and we reach up in faith. We cannot do enough god to earn maintain or keep our eternal salvation. Salvation is a gift. Good works, being baptized, and joining a church can be good things, but they are not good enough for salvation. No human work could ever earn the person perfection so they could enter Heaven. It is the work of God that He performed on the Cross. By God’s grace, we accept through our own volition of faith to receive His gift of eternal life. Have you been born again? Saved by Jesus?
When a person gives you a birthday gift- you reach out and take it. The giver presents it to you and you can either accept the gift or say “no thank-you” to the giver of the gift. The choice is all yours.
Once a person becomes a Christian (When they repent of sin and place faith in the Gospel) the Lord begins a new work in them. They are now a “Christian” which means = “little Christ-like ones.” We are to look more like Jesus.
Why does a Christian do good works if good works cannot save him? Why should a believer in Jesus do Christian service and be a good person if it cannot gain eternal life? The answer lies in verse 10. We are God’s Workmanship.
The Lord has called all believers to “walk in good works.” We do not work for our faith, but “we have a faith that works.” The Bible, the Christian life, the Holy Spirit, and the church services we participate in all assist us in becoming more like Jesus. Our thoughts, words, and actions begin to reflect His love, compassion, purpose, and effectiveness.
The following antidote from the life of Mark Twain can help: “A businessman well known for his ruthlessness once announced to writer Mark Twain, ‘Before I die I mean to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. I will climb Mount Sinai and read the Ten Commandments aloud at the top.’
‘I have a better idea,’ replied Twain. ‘You could stay in Boston and keep them.’”
By God’s grace, live the Christian life to the glory of God so others will see Jesus in you and will then place their faith in Him for their salvation.
Lord willing, the next post will continue our study of the phrase “The Gift of God.” Thank you for reading the pages on this site. Please feel free to add a comment or tell others about it.