Some people are really good at giving gifts. You might even say they’re gifted at it. Get it? Get it? Alright, bad jokes aside, it’s true. There’s always that one person who gets you exactly what you wanted on your birthday or at Christmas.
In the Bible, Jesus is helping his disciples and friends understand more about how God, his father, gives incredible gifts. He tells them about how God sent him to help people get those gifts. He says, “The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.” Jesus calls Satan “the thief” and tells his friends to beware of him. Then he follows it up by telling them that his entire purpose is to give them (and us!) a life overflowing with really good gifts from God.
Here’s the thing: you might not be receiving those gifts.
Imagine you’re on a trip and you have a suitcase full of useless stuff. Why? Because this is a metaphor. You have a suitcase so full of random crap that you have to sit on it to zip it up. On this trip, someone gives you an amazing gift… but you only have one suitcase and there’s no room in it for this gift.
Do you fly home with your suitcase full of useless stuff that you don’t even really want? Or do you get rid of some of it to make room for the gift? When we want to receive gifts from God, we have to make room for them. If you ask God for humility, you have to go to your suitcase, find arrogance and throw it away. There isn’t room for both. That’s not always easy, but it’s the only way to really receive God’s gifts.
Let’s go back to Psalm 23 for a second. Near the end of the chapter, the psalm says, “You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings.”
Sometimes we hold onto our crap because we think we need it or we’re afraid that if we let it go, we’ll end up with nothing. But God’s promise is that we’ll always have an abundance, even when we’re literally surrounded by enemies, because he doesn’t stop providing his amazing gifts to us, no matter what. His promise is so good that we can enjoy a feast and receive his blessings without being afraid of anything or anyone.
Look around. What do you need to receive from God right now? Maybe it’s patience with a sibling, gentleness with your friends or peace in a stressful situation. What do you need to give up to receive that good gift? Try this prayer: *God, I want to receive (fill in the blank) from you. But I know to do that, I need to give up (fill in the blank). Please help me to release that to you so I can get more of your goodness and know you better. Amen. *