Jump Start # 2002
2 Corinthians 9:15 “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift.”
NOTE: With the holiday on Monday, there will not be a Jump Start that day.
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, is more than the words of a song, it’s the feeling in the air. Folks are busy shopping, cooking, getting ready for company or making plans to travel. Holidays are fun. It’s great seeing everyone. Presents, fudge, and great movies—just can’t beat that!
We know that there are some gifts that money cannot buy. You can’t buy time. You can’t buy love. We also know that the greatest gift we will ever receive was on the cross a long time ago. That gift, God’s grace, changed our eternity. There is no price that we can put upon that wonderful gift. Paul’s words, “Thanks be to God,” just do not seem enough for all that God has done for us.
I was thinking about an old hymn, “I gave My life for thee.” The first verse ends with the question, “what hast thou giv’n for Me?” Great question! We think about what God has given to us. We think about what it took for God to provide His gift. We may even consider where would we be without God’s gift. All important thoughts. But what have we given to God?
Immediately, we might say, “God doesn’t need anything.” God is God. He doesn’t even need us. While this is true, He did make us. He made us for a reason and for a purpose. And, there are things that we ought to give God. Here’s a short list:
We ought to give God our hearts. He wants us to want Him. We are to love Him with all that we are. God should never be on the back burner or in second place in our thoughts or decisions. This simply means every decision ought to be made based upon God. Paul said, “We make it our ambition to please the Lord.” The old saying, “I be there, Lord willing, and the creeks don’t rise…” Well, what if the creek does rise? Some have thought that this may refer to the Creek Indian tribe. Either way, if the creeks rise, get a boat or carry your rifle and get down to the church house. Give God all of your heart all of the time.
We ought to give back to God the talent that He has given us. We are all so talented. There are those who can sing wonderfully. There are those who can draw. There are those who can figure out electronics. There are those who can decorate so well. Some are writers. Some are gifted at talking. We’ve gone to school and with years of experience we’ve become pretty good at what we do. Are we using those talents for the Lord? Can we take what experience that we have and use that in the kingdom? Write new hymns. Decorate drab church buildings. Put some energy into the church’s website. Connect with new members. Make gifts for the shut-ins. Use your ability for the kingdom. Don’t bury your talent in secular work. Don’t use your ability only to make a living. Find ways to do what you do so well and use it for the glory of God.
3. We ought to give to God some of the time He has given us. It’s never our time. It’s always His time. Each day is a gift. We can spend the day making a living, watching TV, doing what we want to do, or we can spend some of that time strengthening others, praying, sharing the Gospel, growing faith. Days seem to fly by. We are just a week away from ending this year. Where has the year gone, some will say? It’s moved just as fast as all the other years. It’s us and our schedules that seem to make things so busy and packed. No time—no time for deep conversations. No time for deep Bible study. No time for powerful fellowship and connecting. No time to run by the hospital. No time to stop in at the funeral home. No time. Sure there’s always time, it’s just how we use it. Making time for God and for kingdom work is something that we can give to God.
4. We ought to give ourselves to the kingdom when we can. Where are the next preachers going to come from? From us. Where’s the next batch of shepherds coming from? From us. Deacons? From us. Bible class teachers? From us. All of those involve time, effort and devotion. I wonder if we ever talk to our sons about preaching. I wonder if we ever would want them to preach. Throughout the kingdom today are some of the best preachers, but who will replace them? If it’s money, if it’s the easy life, if it’s little effort that we seek, then kingdom work won’t appeal to us. But if we see the great value of helping people out spiritually and changing lives for eternity, then this is something that ought to be talked about around the dinner table. Put your sons around good preachers. Let them see great elders. Then, they ought to see in their parents, those who have put the kingdom first. They ought to see you serving where you can. They ought to see you teaching classes if you can. It won’t be long and we’ll be handing the keys over to the next generation. Are we leaving things better for them? Are we making it better than we found it? Have we made the church strong, faithful and growing? Or, are we handing a mess over to them? What hast thou giv’n me?
5. We ought to give God a continual “thank you,” for all that He has done for us. Our lives are richer, better and hopeful because of Him. We are forgiven. We will be raised one day. We will be in the presence of God someday. We express our “thank you” by saying it to the Lord. We express it by living righteously. We express it by being shaped by Him. A heart and a character that has been molded by the Savior is one of the best ways we show our gratitude to Him.
God gave the best. God gave all. It makes you wonder, in this season of giving, what have we given to God?
Let that stew for a while in your mind and heart.