Anyone who knows me knows I like to spend as little time shopping as possible. My general approach to shopping is to go to the store with a specific thing in mind and if that specific thing is not at the store I leave. I do not as a matter of practice like to browse.
I would, as a practice, break this rule a couple of times a year. One was before my wife Erin’s birthday, and the other was before Christmas. Why? Because I would take my daughter Jordan with me to shop for Erin’s presents. I wanted to have at least one present that was an expression of Jordan’s love for Erin.
Oddly enough, when my daughter was little, that money came out of our joint family account. That meant that half the money to pay for that gift, in truth, came from Erin’s wages. Erin was in a sense buying half of her own present without having any input on what would be purchased. Some might wonder “How does that make any sense?”
Even though Erin, in all actuality, paid for half the present, the joy of receiving the gift remained the same. Why? Because Jordan offered up what was given to her back to her mother as an expression of love. She was learning to use her imagination to consider what would make her mom happy.
In many ways, the Christian life is a little bit like kids giving a parent presents with their parent’s money. As believers, we are offering a portion of all that God has lavished on us back to Him. We are using what the Lord has given us and returning it to Him as an expression of love.
God has endowed every Christian with certain gifts. He has given us natural aptitudes and spiritual gifts that are to be used for His purposes. The Lord has equipped every one of us with talents that are intended to be used in His service. Some of those talents are perhaps obvious from birth, and others are perhaps discovered as we are active in ministry.
On Epiphany Sunday, which is January 7, 2018, I am asking us as a church to give the gifts that were given from God unto God. We are in a sense going to imaginatively journey with the wise men who came from afar to render their gifts unto Christ. Now we are not going to bring gifts of gold, frankincense, or myrrh; rather, we are giving him our talents and abilities.
On Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve services, we will be distributing a gift survey for each of you to take home and prayerfully consider. Think about those things that the Lord has uniquely equipped you to do that might be of service to His Kingdom’s purposes here at Main Street United Methodist Church. Then, on January 7 we will come and lay those gifts before the Lord like the wise men did at that first Epiphany as an act of worship.