Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Heart vs. Hand

And when [the Magi] had come into the house . . . they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
Matthew 2:11

Recommended Reading
2 Corinthians 8:1-7

Frankincense was a clear, yellowish resin obtained from certain trees that grew in northern India and Arabia, treasured for its aroma and healing properties (Exodus 30:34). Myrrh was a spice valued as a medicine and cosmetic (Mark 15:23). And gold was . . . well, it was gold, the most valuable commodity in human history. These were the three gifts presented by the Magi to the baby Jesus in Bethlehem.

The Magi's gifts were valuable, indeed. But the impression given by Scripture is that the Magi could afford the gifts they brought. They were scholars, perhaps astronomers, likely in the upper echelons of their own society. It would be a mistake to assume that only gifts of extreme value are appropriate to give to God. To the contrary, the Bible commends those who gave out of their poverty—like the poor widow who gave two small coins, "her whole livelihood" (Mark 12:44), and the Corinthians who gave out of their "deep poverty" (2 Corinthians 8:2). It is not the size of the gift, but the size of the heart, that matters most.

The next time you give to God, look first at what's in your heart before counting what's in your hand.

Give from the bottom of your heart, not the top of your purse.

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