Jump Start # 2484
Matthew 7:11 “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Father who is in Heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!”
The Christmas season is in full swing. Just yesterday, I was asked by two different people if I had all my shopping done. Shopping and Christmas seem to go hand in hand. We have a lot to buy for. We have ten grandchildren, along with four grown children and their mates. Toss in my dad, my mother-in-law and a few others that we like to get gifts for, I understand shopping. I even went out on black Friday this year. What was I thinking!
With all this shopping going on, our verse came to my mind this morning. God is good. God is generous. But looking carefully at this verse, there are some interesting details that we need to notice.
First, being evil, doesn’t mean everything a person does is evil or wrong. Here, the evil people were giving good gifts to their children. Don’t miss that. Because a person is doctrinally off on a Biblical principle, does not mean that he is wrong in all things. Although a book may contain some error, it may still have some value and good in it. The evil people knew how to give good gifts.
Second, the evil people had a heart of kindness. They were giving good gifts to their children. Again, it is easy to think that evil people would leave their children outside in the rain, not feed them and just be trouble all the way around. Not so. Not only were they kind to their children, there seems to be a sense of love. The evil people had a heart.
Third, giving good gifts to their children did not erase the fact that these people were evil. Doing good deeds does not take care of the wrongs that we do. Especially this time of year, many folks get the generous spirit and want to donate coats and blankets for the homeless. Great thing to do. Some want to volunteer at a soup kitchen. Wonderful. I’ve done all of those things. However, these generous and kind acts do not change our relationship with the Lord, nor do they remove the wrongs that we have done. Only Jesus can do that. It is a common thought today that if I do some good some where then that makes up for the bad that I have done. These people were considered “evil” by Jesus. They were giving good gifts. Yet, they remained “evil.” They still needed Jesus. They still needed to bend their ways to the Lord, and seek the mercy of God. Giving presents to your children won’t open the gates of Heaven for you. What evil we have done must be taken up with God. He is the one that we have sinned against. Doing nice things for others is not addressing what I need to do with God.
Fourth, God, who is good, not evil, really knows how to give good. The pages of the Bible demonstrate that. God is lavish with his love, generosity and blessings. So often what God gives is not what we want. God gives forgiveness, hope, Heaven and a relationship with Him. That’s fine, some will say, but I’d rather have cash. And, in saying that, not only is one displaying a selfish attitude, but he is showing that he doesn’t understand what really matters. So we get cash. Then what? We’d go out and buy something. Within a few years, it’s junk and we are right back where we are today. We are more interested in stuff than character, hope and forgiveness. Stuff doesn’t last. Stuff is centered on the here and now. The spiritual side of things is what is lasting, eternal and of God. This is why Paul told the Corinthians that we do not look at the things which are visible. His hope, his interests was upon the things that were “invisible.”
Fifth, God has been good to all of us. Time, life, health, opportunity, talent are just a few things found in all of us. But more than that, God has given us His eternal word. God has opened the gates of His kingdom and allowed us to enter in. God has allowed us to be adopted by Him. We sit at His table. We are considered as one of His children. God has trusted us enough to carry on His work in this world. We have become His eyes, His hands and His feet. God believes in us.
Yes, some days are dark and troublesome. There are trips to the cemetery. There are lonely nights. However, even then God has not left us. Even at the moment of our death, the angels from Heaven carry our soul to the arms of Abraham. There are blessings that the eye cannot see. There are blessings that you cannot put a price tag on. There are blessings that can be found no where else.
God knows how to take care of us. God knows what we need. And, God certainly can give good gifts. Something to remember in this season of giving.