During this Christmas season, I thought that a bit of a holiday themed missive was in order.
If you are ever to see biblical giving and receiving, chances are that you will find it in children. If Tamara runs up to you with her chubby fist clenched tight and her eyes wide, you know you are going to be the recipient of a stone that has caught her eye. If it is Sasha, you know you are getting some flower that has grown up between the cracks of the sidewalk. In the case of Alaria, you are just about to become the proud owner of some shiny beetle.
I remember my niece opening a gift on Christmas day. I don’t remember what it was, but I do remember that it was packed in facial tissue. She opened the box, and with pure delight on her face said, “Kleenex!” as she pulled out the wrapping.
The point I am feebly trying to make is that in a culture of giving, gifts are about the giver, and are received on that same basis. We live in a receiving culture, and the point is the getting.
A giving culture reveals the condition of the giver’s heart; a receiving culture reveals the magnitude of the receiver’s greed.
When out shopping for a gift, for most the pressure on us is due to the necessity of reading the mind of the one receiving the gift. We know that we will be judged on our ability to discern what is desired. It is only the second tier of our acquaintance that gets a real gift, something that has been purchased out of our hearts. But like an inverse Grinch, most of us have had our hearts shrunk three sizes, due to our own swelling desire that is growing in the greenhouse of a receiving culture.
A giving culture is formed around a core of divine revelation; the core of a receiving culture is selfish expectation.
The introduction to this blog related some of the points which indicate that we sit upon the cusp of change. It is the third point, which itself is made up of three points, that shows us the danger of being too attuned to our culture. The problem with receivers is that:
- They don’t want the gift.
- They can’t use the gift.
- They don’t realize the value of the gift.
This is why our purchases now come with a gift receipt, so we can return what we have received. But, as that same introductory post mentions, it is these same Boxing Day exchangers who miss the new.
Paul speaks of the gifts of the Spirit, and you have probably heard them spoken upon; however, you probably heard about them from the point of view of a receiving culture. This type of teaching will tell you why you need these gifts, and what you can do with them. But the Kingdom is a culture of giving, and the true power of these gifts is in what they tell us about the heart of God. And it is through knowing the heart of God that we enter Kingdom.