Christmas Eve we attended a candle lighting service geared toward children. I thoroughly enjoyed watching my children participate in the celebration of Jesus’ birth. At one point in the service, children could bring a gift to the stage to honor Jesus. My daughter said “Mom we don’t have a gift for Jesus. I guess we will just have to give ourselves.”
I, like so many of my friends live by check lists. I have a schedule or list for everything. I have a list for shopping, chores, birthdays and a precisely planned daily schedule. Lists help us busy women of today function. You know the daily demand is too great when you are asked what would you like for your birthday and your first response is a quiet uninterrupted shower. However, I also have a check list for things I do to honor God, the “Church List”. These include tithing, choir rehearsal, bible study group, and a sacrificial deed here and there. Unfortunately these things are not meant to be on a “list”. Don’t misunderstand me, doing these things on a regular basis is great and essential for the Christian walk but deeds done on behalf of the Father should be carried out because of your love for the Father not out of obligation. It becomes all about me feeling good about my accomplishment and not about what God did in each experience. I think by having my check list I keep God at a distance. It is as if I am saying I’ll give God these things but that is it. The list, without meaning leaves no room for God to grow you through those experiences. What if we walked into church on a night of extreme children’s ministry, perhaps an Awana night, and gave God our tired worn out bodies fueled by love instead of guilt? We might just finish the night with more energy than we started and a refreshed soul. It is good to give your heart an evaluation. What is motivating you to do the things you are doing? Are you seeking to please someone other than God? Christ came to show us that he values “mercy, not sacrifice.” (Matt. 9:9-13)
My daughter walked without a gift down the aisle with all the other kids. I don’t know what she did or said but wow what an example of willingness. God isn’t interested in the packaging of the gift you bring as much as the package itself, your heart.
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men,” Colossians 3:23