What Do You Give Someone Who Has Everything?

Bible Book: Matthew  2
Subject: Christmas; Gifts To God
Introduction

Black Friday has come and gone, Cyber Monday has as well. Did you get all the presents you plan to give to others this Christmas? You have a few days left but you must get busy to purchase the gifts, wrap the gifts and tag the gifts in time. I expect that there are some of you here that have at least one or two family members who fit this question: What do you give to some who has everything?

Christmas is a busy time for everyone. One lady was talking with a friend after Christmas and said, “I was visited by a happy, bearded fellow who carried a large bag over his shoulder this past Christmas.”

The other lady said, “O yeah, was it Santa?”

The first lady answered, “No, it was my son from college who came home and brought his laundry.”

Yes, Christmas is a busy time. Family and friends visit for meals and gift swapping. Children are excited and bit difficult to keep calm. It can be a bit hectic. One of the real time consuming efforts of Christmas is gift buying. It seems so difficult to find the right gift for all the people on your list. This is especially true for those for whom you have been buying for a number of years. Just what can you get them when they seem to have everything?

One wife opened her gift from her husband and said, “Thank you, darling, that is just what I needed to exchange for just what I really wanted.”

Money can be a problem as well. Someone said, “There's nothing like the Christmas season to put a little bounce in your checks.” People become so obsessed by the quest to purchase the latest toys or gadgets. They pursue them with the fervor of a crusade, refusing to be deterred by any obstacle. They get up before dawn and stand in line for hours fighting hostile crowds in hopes of purchasing a toy for a child who, in all likelihood, will lose interest in it within five minutes of taking it out of the box. What possesses people to invest so much of themselves in pursuing such trivial things? Is the excited look on a child's face on Christmas morning a dream that is big enough to make all the busyness of advent worthwhile?

I heard about a lady who was Christmas shopping with her daughter. The crowds were awful. She had to skip lunch because she was on a tight schedule. Now she was tired, hungry, her feet were hurting, and she was more than a little irritable. As they left the last store, she asked her daughter, “Did you see the nasty look that salesman gave me?”

Her daughter answered, “He didn't give it to you, Mom. You had it when you went in there!”

In our effort to get just the right thing for everyone, we can miss the most important person on our list. Who might that be? Why, Jesus, of course. He has everything! So, what do you give Him? After all, it is His birthday! We need more concentration on Jesus and less on Santa. Someone has well written:

Santa lives at the North Pole. Jesus lives everywhere.

Santa rides in a sleigh. Jesus rides on the wind and walks on the water.

Santa comes once a year. Jesus is an ever present help.

Santa comes down your chimney. Jesus knocks at your heart’s door.

Santa fills your stockings with goodies. Jesus supplies all your needs.

You to wait in line to see Santa. Jesus is as close as the mention of His name.

Santa lets you sit in his lap. Jesus holds you in His hands.

Santa has a belly like a bowl of jelly. Jesus has a heart filled with love.

Santa’s little helpers makes new toys. Jesus makes new lives.

Santa puts gifts under your tree. Jesus became our gift and died on a tree.

Lest you think that I am wrong about this idea that Jesus is often left out of Christmas, just listen to this poll result. Barna Research found in 1996 that 88% of persons interviewed in America considered themselves to be Christians, but only 37% considered Christ’s birth the most important part of Christmas. I doubt the percentage would that high in 2013!

Well today, I want us to think on Christ and to consider what you would give Him if He were to walk into the service today. I want to suggest that we give the three gifts the Wise Men gave. No, I am not talking about gold, incense and myrrh. I consider those gifts symbolic. I want you to see three other gifts they gave and how wonderful they really are. For no matter how rich or poor you are, you can give these gifts - if you really love Him!

I. Give Him A Longing Soul

The Wise Men who followed the star were not astrologers but rather astronomers. They were not men of suspicion but men of science. In their day, they would have been the most advanced intellectuals of their society. It is probable that in their studies of ancient books and materials they came across the Hebrew writings, especially those of Daniel. They must have found something which pointed to a king who would be born in Israel marked by a star. They set off on a journey to find this king. Their incredible knowledge and remarkable journey brought them to Jerusalem. The first gift the Magi, the Wise Men, brought to the Lord, was A Longing Soul. They had an earnest aspiration to seek the King. I want to suggest to you on this Sunday before Christmas, that one of the best gifts we can give to Jesus is A Longing Soul - a soul hungry to be in His presence.

A. A Longing Desire to be Near Him

This is best expressed as a Desire to be near the Lord. It was not enough that the Wise Men had learned something about this King and that they had seen the Star; no, they had an overwhelming desire to be near Him. This is one of the foremost gifts we can give to the Son of God. The Bible speaks of this often.

In Deuteronomy 4:29 we read, “But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul.”

Also, in Psalm 34:10, “The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing.”

The Scripture is clearly stating that the Lord will reveal Himself to those who earnestly long in their souls for Him. The Psalmist spoke passionately of this longing desire in Psalm 42:1, As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. Give the Lord the gift of A Longing Soul, desiring His presence above all other earthly attainments.

B. A Longing Devotion to be Near Him

This desire, when present in a person’s life, will be seen the a visible, active Devotion to get near the Lord. That is what the Wise Men had and revealed. We are told that the trip from Babylon to Jerusalem took four months at the very least. Think of traveling in the ancient days across desert, mountains, streams and rough roads on camels for four difficult wearying months - that would require a deep, devotion to get to the King. Today, some people do not show up for church when it rains even though they can ride in a warm car, use an umbrella, park on a paved parking lot, walk into a comfortable dry building, sit on a cushioned chair to worship. We need a devotion that will carry us over the mountains of excuses and minor hardships to draw near to our Lord. Give the Lord the gift of your devotion. Let us pay any price, meet any condition and endure any hardship to walk in the presence of the living Lord.

The Wise Men came to Jerusalem, sought out King Herod to ask him about the King who was to be born. Herod knew nothing of this matter, so he called in his so-called spiritual advisors. They reported that the Scriptures did predict that a King was to be born in Bethlehem. Herod conveyed the message to the Magi and told them to report back to him when the child was found so that he could come also and worship the child. Of course, Herod had no intention of worshiping the child, and we shall see why in a moment.

The Wise Men pushed on in their journey. After months of travel, at great cost in time and energy, they made their trek down to Bethlehem. Their desire and devotion drove them onward in their pursuit of the King.

We should give the Lord A Longing Soul.

II. Give Him A Listening Ear

A. Listening To Hear the Spirit

The Wise Men gave the gift of a listening ear by listening to the voice of the Spirit of God in their hearts. They responded to the Star of Bethlehem because they were open to the voice of God in their hearts. Jesus talked about how important it is to listen. In Mark 4:23 Jesus said, If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear. This statement is sandwiched between a warning that hidden sins will be disclosed and a warning that the judgment you use will be used against you. It is critical that we are open to the Spirit of God to speak to your hearts. In Revelation, chapters 2 and 3, Jesus spoke to the churches of every generation commanding us to hear what the Spirit says to the churches. Does God speak to you? Does you warn you of danger when you are tempted? Does He speak words of comfort when you are hurting? Does you give you guidance when you do not know the way? Isaiah prophesied that in the Day of the Lord you would hear from the Lord and He would direct you. In Isaiah 30:21 we read, Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it. We ought to hear from the Lord, but for that to happen we must be open to hear from Him.

Interesting, isn’t it, that the foreign scientist were searching for the King to be born, while the religious leaders only 5 miles away in Jerusalem had not time for the issue. We must keep our hearts tuned to heaven’s frequency.

It was important that they listened to the Lord. Herod was an evil King in Jerusalem at the time of Jesus’ birth. He told the Wise Men to return to him and to tell him where the King had been born so he, too, could come to worship Him. Of course, Herod only one plan - to kill the child. Herod would not allow any possibility that anyone would ever take his throne from him. Historians tell us just how evil Herod was. Herod was deeply troubled, shaken, and agitated by the news that a King had been born. To agitate Herod was not a good idea. He killed his closest associate, who was his wife’s brother the high priest, by drowning him in Jordan River. At the funeral, in order to cover his trail of blood, he actually shed tears as if he were sad. He killed his wife, and then killed two of his sons! Caesar once said he’d rather be one of Herod’s sows than one of his sons!

Because the Wise Men were listening to God, they were open to hear the Lord through a dream warning them not to go back and tell Herod about the child. O, friend, we must be open to the moving of the Spirit, to the voice of the Lord.

B. Listening To Hear the Scripture

One way the Wise Men listened was through the Scripture. O, how wonderful it would be, if only people would listen once again to the Word of God rather than modern ideas about life. The Wise Men listened when the prophesy from the Word was given to them and followed the directions it gave. That is our modern need today.

III. Give Him A Loving Heart

Let us also give the Lord A Loving Heart. I see in these Wise Men a heart filled with love. I am not speaking of sentimental love, not superficial love, but a supernal love evidenced by what they did. Look at the evidence of this affection for the Lord.

The Wise Men came to Bethlehem and found the baby Jesus, not in the manger but in a home. Time had passed and by the time the Magi arrived in the little town of Bethlehem, Jesus, Mary and Joseph were in a home. When they arrived they came humbly before the baby Jesus.

A. A Loving Heart To Give Him Our Worship

They first revealed their love through their worship. They bowed down before Him as a sign of their affection. Worship means worth ship and speaks of the worthiness of the Lord to receive the worship He is given.

B. A Loving Heart To Give Him Our Wealth

Then, the Magi opened their treasures and gave of their wealth to the Lord. The gifts were not just material, they were symbolic.

1. The first gift was Gold - which spoke of His Royal Nature - King

2. The second gift was Incense - which spoke of His Representative Nature - Priest

I once read the story of John Callahan, of New York City. He had done time in the Joliet Penitentiary. On the day he was released, he was drunk in less than twelve hours. Eventually he became a bartender. He struck a man in a drunken brawl and landed behind bars again. There was a day when he found his way into a rescue mission. He heard the story of Jesus Christ, and received Him as his Savior.

There was something that bothered him. He had four photographs in Rogue’s Gallery. He got three of them from the Chicago Police through a friend, but there was one more that remained in Joliet, and he couldn’t get it. One night he spoke at the Battlecreek Sanitarium. Among the guests was the governor of Illinois. That night John Callahan told the story of his life and how he gotten 3 of the pictures, but had the one left in Joliet.

When he finished, the governor of Illinois came up to him, wiped the tears from his eyes, and said, “Mr. Callahan, I’ll see what I can do for you.” In a few days John Callahan received a letter from the governor saying, “It gives me great pleasure to enclose your photograph from the penitentiary of Joliet and to tell you that your record of crime has been destroyed.”

The slate had been wiped clean. That is what Jesus did. He is our High Priest. He has gone through the door into the Holy of Holies and carried His own blood to make propitiation for us.

3. The third gift was Myrrh - which spoke of His Redemptive Nature - Lamb

Back during the days of the Civil War, the government drafted men into service. A man in Mercer County, Pennsylvania, was drawn to enlist. However, because of sickness at home, he felt he could not leave. The administration permitted him to secure someone to take his place. The substitute enlisted and went out in place of the man who was drafted. In a short time, he was killed and buried, and the government made a record of it.

However, by some oversight on the part of the officials, the name of the man who was excused was placed in another draft, and drawn second time. He went before the authorities and said to them, “You cannot draft me for I am a dead man.” They asked him what he meant, and he said, “Look at the records. You will see that I enlisted, I fought, and I died in the person of my substitute.”

That Baby born 2,000 years ago came to be my substitute. I have received Him and I cannot be put to death because He has already died in my place.

In the heart of London is a place known as ‘Trafalgar Square.’ A memorial to England’s greatest naval hero, Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson, is there. It memorializes the Battle of Trafalgar off Spain’s southern coast. There, on October 21, 1805, the British fleet, under Nelson, defeated the French and Spanish fleet.

Although it was one of the greatest naval battles in history and gave England undisputed control of the sea, Nelson was wounded and died during the battle. Brought back to London, he was buried in the crypt of Saint Paul’s Cathedral.

In the middle of Trafalgar Square stands a tall column with a giant statue of Admiral Nelson atop it. But, Nelson is so high above that his features are not able to be distinguished from the pavement below.

But, in 1948, someone did something about it. An exact replica of Lord Nelson was placed at eye level where it could be examined and appreciated by the people walking through Trafalgar Square. They had brought Nelson down from his colossal column where the common man, and woman, in the streets could see him.

Jesus came down to be born in Bethlehem to make it possible for us to see God. Not only that, He died at Calvary so that our sins might be forgiven and we can live with Him forever.

He gave His best for us. Let us give our best to Him!