History’s Great Gift-Givers

April 15, 2018 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions

By Hally Franz –

By my latest count, there are 10 consignment or second-hand stores in my town of 10,000 citizens. That’s one used-goods establishment for every 1,000 people. Does that seem like a lot to anyone else?

Let it be known that I am completely supportive of endeavors to reuse, recycle, re-purpose, and even re-engineer objects in order to give them added life. However, I still find myself coming to one conclusion—we all have just too much stuff. Brain science, right?

Perhaps we should keep that in mind as we do this year’s Christmas shopping for friends and family. Before we populate our homes with a fresh set of electronics, clothes, tools, gadgets and toys (only to do a big household purge in January), maybe we should also consider two of the most famous and generous gifts ever given by man.

At two critical points in the life of Jesus, he was the recipient of wonderfully heart-felt expressions of love. Soon after his birth, esteemed wise men came to see him, and, as we know, they brought gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. The Magi traveled to view this prophesied Messiah, pay their respects, and honor him with gifts worthy of a king.

Then, near the end Jesus’s life, Mary, sister of Lazarus, demonstrated her deep love for Jesus by washing his feet with perfume and drying them with her hair. While some were offended by her gift, Jesus recognized this gift as far more than a gesture.

In these examples, the “gifts” did include tangible items that were given. In fact, Mary’s perfume was extremely expensive, as were the incense, spice and precious metal brought by the wise men. But, it seems to me the greater gift was in the lengthy journey of the wise men and the humble service of Mary. It was their magnificent expressions of devotion that most clearly demonstrated the love each had for Jesus, not the sharing and giving of the material items.

As I review this year’s gift-giving list, I think I’ll look for occasions when a visit, time spent, or a service provided might mean much more to someone than just another package under the tree.

PRAYER: Most righteous heavenly Father, as I select gifts this year for my loved ones and friends, help me to remember the spirit of giving demonstrated by Your servant, Mary. Help me to have a heart for giving like hers.

“Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume” (John 12:3 NIV).

About Hally Franz

Hally Franz writes about her observations on family and faith, parenting and people. She is a former high school guidance counselor, turned stay-at-home mom. Hally and husband Tim will celebrate twenty years of marriage this year, and have two teens. She is a 4-H leader and band mom, serves as her church secretary and as a Bible class teacher. Hally enjoys traveling with her family and participating in monthly book club meetings with her pals.

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