child enjoying the gift of a toy

If I’m honest, I’ve been given a lot in my life. A lot is even a gross understatement, but that’s beside the point. You know what gift out of all of them I treasure most? It’s relationships. For those of you who don’t know me or know me well, relational strife will ruin my day. Actually, relationships have ruined weeks on end for me. I value them more than gold. Actually, it’s unhealthy the value I place on relationships. What’s particularly unhealthy, I realize, is the fact that I chronically forget to stop and thank the giver of my relationships. And that’s really the problem: I value the gift more than the Giver.

Plethora of gifts

There are so many things we’ve been given. Using my life as an example, I have family, friends, a house, a church, a job, a car, etc. These are just the big-ticket items and there are too many to mention. I’ll admit, it’s far too easy to become complacent and take for granted that the gifts will keep coming without end. It’s easy to preoccupy ourselves with the latest gift of a promotion, or a new significant other and forget about the Father who lovingly doted the gift on us in the first place. It’s easy to become a selfish brat.

Thankful for the real gift

Being thankful for each new gift is a cultivated skill. Resisting complacency is a matter of perspective. See, what I’m learning is that each gift, no matter how shiny, neat, or cool, is but a foretaste of what’s to come. Each gift is but a drop in the bucket of what God will give to us soon enough. Each gift is really nothing more than a tangible reminder that our Father loves us deeply and wants to give us a better idea of that love. Yet, I so often miss the forest for the trees and content myself playing with the box when there’s a brand new fire truck sitting there in front of me.

We’re not ready for the real gift

In my response to each gift, I show God that I’m not ready for the real gift. What is that? Why, it’s God Himself. The ultimate present God could ever give is His attention and time. No, I merely settle for the twenty-dollar bill I found in my pocket the other day. I’m far from ready for an eternity with the only being that is Love. I’m not ready for the everlasting warmth and joy of His embrace. I’m too busy playing with my tinker toys.

This may seem an odd question, but I sometimes wonder if I’ve been given too much. I wonder if God gave me less, would I appreciate Him more? But God, the loving Father that He is, knows exactly how much He can “spoil” us. He knows what is just enough, but this doesn’t stop me from being ungrateful. He gives so much, but ultimately the problem is I don’t understand and appreciate what He is really trying to give me. The real gift is Himself, His time and affection, but I don’t have the perspective, not yet. I’m not ready to fully appreciate all He has to give. Truthfully, the gift of God would overwhelm me mightily and I’d only squander it. But that has to change and that change has to begin today. So you friend, what is it that you treasure more than gold, more than God?