To Whom Did You Give Your Gifts?
We are well into the holiday season, and the marketplace is very busy. Ironically, before November you might have witnessed a display of Christmas ornaments for sale in your local market. Believe it or not, secularization is at its peek at this time of the year. Yes, there is a feeling of warmth like no other time of the year, yet this warmth is accompanied with worldliness and the pride of life. However, as children of God, how should we relate to this season? And more than that, how should we spend our money when it comes to gifts? In fact, to whom did you give your gifts this year?
In counseling God’s people on how to observe the holidays, Sister White said the following: “Shall we not, as a people, refrain from following the custom of the world in unnecessary indulgence during the present holiday season? O how much might be accomplished in needy mission fields with the money that is squandered in various ways at this season of the year by those who profess to be Christians! Will not the Seventh-day Adventists in every place first consecrate themselves to the Lord, and then do their very best, according to their circumstances, to advance his work, by gifts and offerings? Will they show that they appreciate the blessings of the Lord, and that they are grateful for his mercy? Will they not now consider their obligations to God, at a time when the world especially seeks for pleasure, and expends large sums of money for gifts to those who are not needy? I have said to my family and my friends, I desire that no one shall make me a birthday or Christmas gift, unless it be with permission to pass it on into the Lord’s treasury, to be appropriated in the establishment of missions.” – Review & Herald, December 27, 1906 par. 7-9.
Friends, this time of the year is a test of our characters and an opportunity to show Christlikeness. If we have the mind of Christ, we will always say as did Jesus, “I must be about my Father’s business.” In all that we do, we are to keep His work as primary. This, in turn, should dictate our expenditures and balance our budget. Our gifts should not be patterned after the world, nor should our loved ones be lavished with the blood of those perishing for a lack of Christian service. Think about it! Are your grandchildren playing the latest games that you bought with the money that could have been used to reach a languishing soul? Are your children wearing extravagant clothes or needless ornaments that you bought with the money that could have been used to reach a soul that went to a Christ-less grave? Only the judgment will reveal the results of such decisions. “I entreat the followers of Jesus not to let the precious opportunities of these coming days pass unimproved. Let not time and means be spent in preparing gifts which will benefit neither giver nor receiver. Remember that both your time and means are intrusted you of God, and that he will call you to account for the manner in which you employ his gifts.” – Review & Herald, December 26, 1882 par. 10.