We are entering a gift-giving season.
We generally give gifts out of two motivations: love or obligation. Choosing a gift for someone you love can be a fun adventure as you intentionally match what you know about that person with something that will bring them joy. Picking gifts for people you do not know well but are expected to include is just something else to check off the to-do list.
Psalm 76 describes God as majestic, victorious, and powerful as He judges the earth. Because of who He is, He is worthy of our praise and gifts.
Make your vows to the LORD your God
and perform them;
let all around him bring gifts
to him who is to be feared (v. 11 ESV)
What kind of gifts can we bring to the LORD?
Here are some to consider.
The greatest command in both the Old and New Testaments is to love God. The second is to love others.
Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. Deuteronomy 6:5 CSB
One of the scribes approached. When he heard them debating and saw that Jesus answered them well, he asked him, “Which command is the most important of all?”
Jesus answered, “The most important is Listen, O Israel! The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is, Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other command greater than these.” Mark 12:28-31 CSB
God desires that love motivate us, not obligation or going through the motions simply because it is expected.
For I desire faithful love and not sacrifice,
the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.
Hosea 6:6 CSB
How do we love God? We obey Him.
Then Samuel said: Does the LORD take pleasure in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the LORD? Look: to obey is better than sacrifice, to pay attention is better than the fat of rams. 1 Samuel 15:22 CSB
Obedience is not just a gift for God. We receive a gift in return. Jesus said that He will reveal Himself to those who obey God’s commands.
The one who has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. And the one who loves me will be loved by my Father. I also will love him and will reveal myself to him. John 14:21 CSB
Worship is a gift God has requested from us.
“And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God ask of you except to fear the LORD your God by walking in all his ways, to love him, and to worship the LORD your God with all your heart and all your soul?” Deuteronomy 10:12 CSB
Giving ourselves to God is an act of worship.
Therefore, brothers and sisters, in view of the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your true worship. Romans 12:1 CSB
Worship is a gift we can give continually as we confess and praise God’s name.
Therefore, through him let us continually offer up to God a sacrifice of praise, that is, the fruit of lips that confess his name. Hebrews 13:15 CSB
Sing to the Lord, you his faithful ones, and praise his holy name. Psalm 30:4 CSB
Giving thanks is God’s will for us.
Give thanks in everything; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 CSB
You are my God, and I will give you thanks. You are my God; I will exalt you.
Psalm 118:28 CSB
Give thanks to the Lord; call on his name; proclaim his deeds among the peoples. 1 Chronicles 16:8 CSB
We have received mercy from God. When we show mercy to others, we also give to God.
“This is what the LORD Almighty said: ‘Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another.’” Zechariah 7:9 NIV
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and take you in, or without clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick, or in prison, and visit you?’
“And the King will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Matthew 25:37-40 CSB
This season, whether you find choosing gifts for others a chore or a joy, make time to consider the gifts you can give the LORD your God, the awe-inspiring One.
Father, You have given me everything. I long to give back to You. I want to love You with all my heart, soul, and strength. I want to keep Your commands. I want to give You my life as an act of worship. I want to praise Your name. I want to give thanks in everything. And I want to show mercy and compassion to others. You are worthy. In Jesus’ name, Amen.