The Giver and the Gift

“God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
—John 3:16

THE FACT THAT THE true birth date of Jesus was in October and not December does not hinder his followers from rejoicing in the knowledge that he was born, and that he came into the world as the gift of God to be the Redeemer and Savior of the human race. Despite the fact of original sin and the whole world continuing in rebellion against God, he still loved the human race. Throughout the four thousand years from the transgression of our first parents to the birth of Jesus, the Creator had continued to bestow many blessings upon the fallen race, causing the sun to shine, and the rain to fall, upon both the just and the unjust. But not until the coming of Jesus had God manifested his love for his human creation in such a marvelous manner.


Reason tells us that God’s gift of his Son was at a tremendous cost to himself. The Logos was the first and only direct creation of God—his beloved Son. He was daily, constantly, his Father’s delight, the Scriptures indicate, and occupied a high position of trust and responsibility in the heavenly realm. But the Father gave him up, commissioning him to lay aside the heavenly glory to become a man in order that he might sacrifice his humanity for the sins of the world. (I John 2:2) In our text, God’s great love is indicated as being represented in such a gift—‘God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son.’

In our meditations concerning the practical significance to us of God’s great gift, it is well to pause for a moment and note that giving is indeed the true manifestation of Divine love. No matter how we might like to sidestep this fundamental truth concerning Divine love as we see it exemplified in the Creator, and as we should endeavor to copy it in our own lives, we must ultimately face the fact that where there is no impelling desire to give, even to the point of making costly sacrifices in order to do so, we can very well doubt the genuineness of the love which we like to think is ruling in our own hearts and lives. If we are godlike we will be givers.


The idea of giving seems to captivate the minds of millions at this season of the year. To the extent that it is wholehearted and unselfish, it creates a refreshing change in the attitude even of the world. But too often the real origin of this spirit of giving is lost sight of and, because of this, the spirit of unselfish joy as expressed in giving, and exemplified in God’s gift of Jesus to be the world’s Redeemer, is largely forgotten. We should not be surprised at this, but it is well that the Lord’s people endeavor to keep their thoughts and practices in focus with the real principles involved. Those of us who are enlightened by present Truth should by all means endeavor to remember the real significance of the birth of Jesus, and seek to emulate the pattern of love that is thus set before us.

God’s gift of his Son was, from one standpoint, an act of pure charity, in the sense that he was giving to those who were in no position in any material way to reciprocate. This viewpoint is the one that should largely govern Christians in their giving. When we think of it from this standpoint, we at once recognize that true Christian giving is not something to be practiced merely once a year, but is to be a daily laying down, a daily giving up, of what we possess of time and strength and means, in order that through us blessings may flow to others, even to those who may be strangers to us, and who may never know the part we had in their blessing. Such is true Christian giving.

Because God loved, he gave, and he gave that which was very costly. So it will be with all who are truly godlike. Let us not think of Christian giving as the bestowing of that which we do not need, or merely the overflow of bounties with which God blesses us. Such giving would not represent genuine sacrifice. If we merely give the time to the Lord which is left over after we have taken care of our own interests, we have made no sacrifice. If we give to him merely the surplus of strength that we still possess after doing all we feel like doing for ourselves, we are not laying down our lives in his service. If we give the means which we reasonably and safely conclude we will never need for ourselves, our gift has not been a costly one, nor have we followed the example of the widow who gave her “two mites.” (Mark 12:42) The prize for which we are running is a “pearl of great price,” and unless we are willing to give up all that we have in order to acquire it, that pearl will never be ours.—Matt. 13:45,46


We should appreciate the gift which the Heavenly Father made to us and to the world! Jesus is the center of all our hopes. Through his blood all the precious promises of God have been made yea and amen. He is our “all in all” (Eph. 1:23), the “chiefest among ten thousand” (Song of Sol. 5:10), and the One who is “altogether lovely.” (vs. 16) He is God’s gift to us, not for a day merely, but for every day—not for this year only, but for every year, for he is with us always, and will continue to be with us even to the end of the way. He has promised that beyond the veil he will receive us unto himself, that where he is, there we will be also. (John 14:3) What a gift—a Savior, a friend, a brother, and in glory, a Bridegroom!

But do we appreciate this gift enough? Are we well enough acquainted with him? Do we study his example sufficiently, and are we faithful enough in our endeavor to copy him as our pattern? Naturally there is much sentiment associated with the birth of Jesus, but it is well to remember that Jesus’ birth was merely a means to an end, and that end was his growth to manhood’s estate, and the laying down of his perfect life that he might be a “propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” (I John 2:2) It is the man Christ Jesus who is our Exemplar, the One who says to each of us, “If any man will come after me [be my disciple], let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.”—Matt. 16:24

Thus we see Jesus, God’s gift, not only as the One ‘altogether lovely,’ and full of grace and truth, but we also see him as a faithful toiler in his Father’s vineyard, daily giving up his strength in the doing of the Father’s will, sacrificing his all that others might be blessed. He was resolute in his loyalty to God, and courageous in his defense of the Truth, and unafraid before his enemies. This was Jesus, the gift of God to us!


As we cherish this gift from year to year, and throughout all the years, our commemoration of his birth should likewise be of a permanent character. Hence, as we reach the end of another year, and look forward to the privileges, the opportunities, and the responsibilities of 2004, may it be with the question in our minds and upon our hearts, How much can I show my appreciation for God’s gift to me? How well am I emulating the example of giving which is set before me in our Heavenly Father, and also in his beloved Son?

If we are faithful, if we “do these things,” we will have an abundant “entrance … into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ,” and will have the privilege of reigning with him. (II Pet. 1:10,11) But the time is short. We will need to stretch every nerve and strain every muscle, if we are to qualify for that abundant ‘entrance’ for which we are hoping and striving.

There is no time to become “weary in well doing;” no time to pamper the flesh, nor make “provision” for it. (Gal. 6:9; Rom. 13:14) There is no time for anything except to keep our minds and hearts fixed upon the Lord, his service, and his people. If we are letting time slip for other things, we should endeavor to redeem it, or ‘buy it back’ for use in our all-important task of making our calling and election sure. The poet has well said,

We are not here to dream, to drift,
We have hard work to do, and loads to lift.

So let us get on with the task at hand! Let us steady ourselves for lifting the loads and shouldering the responsibilities the Lord entrusts to us. To each one of us individually, and to all of us as a people, this year will be the best year spiritually of our Christian lives if we are determined, by the Lord’s grace, to make it so. As a body of people, wonderful opportunities of service are in our hands. But we cannot get into the kingdom as a group. Only by individual faithfulness can this be done—faithfulness to the Lord, to the Truth, and to the brethren; faithfulness in our love; faithfulness in our service; faithfulness in our giving; faithfulness in everything that is outlined in the Word of God for us, and exemplified by Jesus, the Gift of Divine love.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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