This time of year our thoughts turn toward the concept of giving: gifts, volunteering at the homeless shelter, money in the Salvation Army bucket, year-end gifts to non-profits. All of this is a good thing and a whole lot more would be accomplished for the kingdom if we could stretch this generosity out over the other 11 months of the year.
But things begin to get derailed as we start to think about giving to God. Imagine the scene, you're in the mall shopping and you hear the song "The Little Drummer Boy." The message seems so appealing. Here's a little boy, no money, nothing to offer this new born King. The Magi have invited the drummer boy to come with them to offer gifts to the King, but he has nothing to give. Wait, a bright idea comes into his head! He will play his drum for the King and as the song ends, we hear the words "I played my best for Him" and "He smiled at me." Obviously, at least in the song, baby Jesus, also a poor boy, was pleased with the gift.
That is the way we all try to approach God. We are always playing our drum for God hoping to please Him; but God is not impressed. It's not that God doesn't like drums; the problem is God doesn't need anything and we have nothing to offer Him. As we read in Job, "If you are righteous, what do you have to give to him? Or what does he receive from your hand?" There is no one who is righteous, and even if there was, that individual would have nothing to offer the Lord because God is self-existent and self-sufficient. And honestly, every good gift and every perfect gift the gift-giver has comes from the Father of lights any way (James 1:17).
As Dr. Donald Grey Barnhouse put it: “There is not a thing that you can do to merit all this grace. You cannot give anything to God; you have nothing to give. But you can believe His Word and His heart will be satisfied to draw you to Himself, strip you of your sin, clothe you with His righteousness, and set you upon the throne with Him where you can be His companion and associate in the government of the universe forever. Believe Him today.”
This Christmas we must remember that when it comes to God and gift giving, receiving always trumps giving. Anything we offer back to Him is truly a repackaged gift (the original "regifting") that simply communicates one thought, "Thank you Father, You are so good to us."