Matthew 7:11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!
I’ve read this bible verse many times in my life and have felt left out of receiving God’s gifts. I believed for lots of my adult life that God excluded me from His eternal family and so obviously He excluded me from receiving His gifts. I then finally realized that God had not excluded me and I had been told a pack of lies. Yet even once I knew I was a chosen daughter of our Lord and Savior, I still felt left out of receiving His gifts. I was happy to live and know I have an eternal life! I always try to live being grateful and unconcerned about not having ‘everything’.
This Christmas season opened my eyes to this bible verse in ways only God can help us see! I hope my enlightenment will encourage you through out your life!
One of my daughters is a single Mother. She does an amazing job of balancing parenting, being a business owner, daughter, sister and friend. I have not seen very many people who do as much for other people as my daughter does. I realized that her son needed some help to go Christmas shopping for his Momma. I am not sure why I hadn’t already planned on it but when I realized it we didn’t have much time left. My grandson is 5 and has a heart bigger than words can describe. I spoke with my grandson on the phone about going shopping with me to pick out his Mom a gift. He was very excited and said Yes, Grandma I would love to! So we set our shopping day for Saturday.
I assumed because he is only 5 and a ‘boy’ I would have to suggest what to buy, show him where it was in the store, and so on. I surprise myself with my tainted view on the world sometimes. Because of our crazy work schedules I ended up getting to spend time with my grandson before Saturday. I asked him what he thought he wanted to buy his Mom and he said with all the confidence of a young gentleman who had been thinking about it ‘A phone case!’. Hmmm ok I said, that is a good gift. We were going to go pick it out that day but then he got into trouble and his Mom told him he was not allowed to buy anything, not allowed ask for anything to be bought and so on. While I understood his Mom was saying no toys, candy or treats because you have been bad- I also pointed out that Mom said NO BUYING so we can not shop for her either. We will shop on Saturday.
Between then and Saturday God tapped me on the shoulder and pointed out that while I have lots of people who make the Holiday special for me, currently my daughter only has one little boy. I purposed then to help him get his Mom a few gifts. So they arrived and I shooshed my daughter off! As my grandson and I are driving to the store I said to him, I’ve been thinking and maybe we should get Mom more presents. I think we should get her something she wants, something she needs, something to wear and something to read or watch. (Yes I borrowed this idea from a facebook post!) He looks at me with his eyes so full of love for his Momma and says in this quiet voice, you mean, Grandma I can give Momma more than one present? I said Yes! He hugged me tight and said thank you Grandma…. you haven’t seen our tree but it is FULL of presents. They are all for me. Mom has made Christmas so special for me, I want to her to have more than just one present.
So we shopped together and bought what he wanted to get for his Mom. He had GREAT ideas! He knew where to find them in the store. We had fun wrapping them. He wrote out all of his own tags. He filled my heart so full with his enthusiasm to give that it opened my eyes to what I have helped perpetuate in this world. This sweet child opened my eyes to see that he felt left out of being able to give. He had lots of presents to open, but he didn’t have any to give.
We love our children so much we want them to have LOTS to open every Christmas morning- but do we take the time to help them give to us? I didn’t. Yes I took my kids to pick an angel gift as often as we could. Yes I purposefully gave my kids money to put into the red kettles. Yes we shopped for their dad together. But did I enable them to give when their hearts were full like my grandsons’ heart for his Momma? I did not. It was not intentional but it is one of those things- I gave good gifts but didn’t train my kids up to give good gifts. And as my grandson taught me this year, I have always been the one who needed to learn- I know my own children wanted to give to me and their father- but I didn’t see that as important- no here, just make me some coupons…. or this or that. I didn’t encourage it to grow and blossom like I should have.
Don’t read this wrong- I love every single hand made thing my children have ever given me. But as my grandson said- I want her to have more than one thing to open. I want to give to her as much or more than she has given to me. We miss that as the parent – so often! We get caught up in pouring out onto our children that we don’t hear their hearts trying to pour into us.
So then this brings me back to how is it that I felt left out of God’s gifts? God knows how to give better than I do! I realized that like the presents under the Christmas tree, God has gifts for us. He is not stuffing any one of those gifts into your face saying open it! open it! He is patiently waiting for me to ask for it. When I asked for salvation I received salvation. When I asked for mercy and relief from pain, the pain left. God is not sitting there pushing a gift in my face when I have done good, neither is He taking that gift away when I have done bad. He is patiently waiting for me to be ready to receive what He has to offer. While I see others around me with amazing gifts that I want, I quite frankly am not ready to receive them. When I am ready to receive I will ask and I know God will give them to me.
So I challenge you as parents- foster your children’s love of giving. Nourish it, help it grow! Don’t shoosh them out of the way just because you want to do the giving- give to each other! If your children are raised like mine are, then help your grandchildren! Thankfully God doesn’t close the door on His giving – He is waiting there to give you the very thing that your heart desires! Just ask!!