I don’t know about you, but many times when I’m given a gift, I feel like I need to give a gift back to the giver. I want this gift to seem appropriate for the gift I was given so that the other person knows that I really appreciated their thoughtfulness. But there is a danger if we try to do this with God’s Gift to us.
One of the psalmists wondered how to repay God. After praising God for the salvation He worked, the psalmist asks, “How can I repay the Lord for all His goodness to me?” (Psalm 116:1-6, 12).
As I said, not only is there a danger in trying to give God a gift that somehow reciprocates what He’s given to us, but how do you give a gift to the One who needs nothing (see Acts 17:25; Psalm 50:9-12)?
Let me try to explain it this way. What if a rich friend gave me a house, all its furnishings, and all its food? He said, “I want to provide this place for you to live and not concern yourself with your housing or food needs. The house has no mortgage, I will pay for the utilities, and I will keep your kitchen stocked with food.”
I would, of course, exclaim, “Wow! Thank you!” But what if I then began to make monthly mortgage payments, or started leaving money in the cupboard to pay for the groceries? Wouldn’t I really be saying to my friend, “I’m not sure you can afford this.” Or maybe even, “Let me give you something so you won’t think me ungrateful and then end up taking back your gift.”
In my attempt to give back to my generous friend, I’m really questioning his resources that will allow this gift to continue or his motivation for blessing me.
The psalmist in Psalm 116 gives us two ways we can express our gratitude to God for His Gift of Jesus (Psalm 116:13-14).
- I will lift up my cup of salvation. This isn’t lifting up a cup to say, “Cheers,” but lifting it up for a continual refilling because He is the only Source that can refill it.
- I will fulfill my vows to the Lord. One picture of our relationship with Jesus is a marriage, where Jesus is the Bridegroom and we are the bride. At almost any wedding you may attend, the bride and groom make vows to each other that essentially say, “I only have eyes for you. My heart is only longing for you. I’m devoted to you forever, no matter what!”
In my Good Friday message, I said that Jesus IS the perfect Gift. When He said, “It is finished,” He left nothing undone.
For me to then say, “Thank you for that Gift. Now I must do _____,” is to really say, “I don’t think the Gift was perfect. There are still some things needed to complete it.”
Or it might be fear speaking that says, “If I don’t give something back, You may withdraw Your Gift from me!”
I think these stem from two misconceptions:
Misconception #1: “God does loving things.” Truth #1: Yes He does, but more than that God IS love.
God is love. He could never love you more than He already does, so stop trying to earn His love. And He could never love you less than He already does, so stop worrying.
Misconception #2: “God supplies my needs.” Truth #2: Yes He does, but more than that God IS provision.
God is provision. He never runs low. He is never dependent on someone else. He is never short-changed. He knows exactly what you need, and He can perfectly provide for you each and every moment.
Don’t try to repay God for sending His Son Jesus, but celebrate God’s Perfect Gift by continuing to let Him fill your cup of salvation, honoring your vows to Him, and living securely and joyfully in His love and provision.
If you’ve missed any of the other messages in our series Christmas Unwrapped At Easter, you can find a list of all of those messages here.
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