December 24, 2008

 

Will They Know What it Cost?

Glynnis Whitwer

 

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23 (NIV)

         

Devotion:

My daughter Cathrine went on a field trip to the Grand Canyon last year with her fourth grade class. As I picked her up upon her return, she couldn’t wait to show me an adorable little stuffed brown bear. She started to say that it was for everyone, and then her words got jumbled up as she tried to explain how she ran out of money when she was trying to buy gifts. I could see she was distressed but wasn’t sure why.

 

To understand the rest of the story, it might help to know that Cathrine was born in Africa and experienced deprivation of every sort for the first 11 years of her life. Although she has made remarkable gains, she struggles with communication and math - especially money.


After we got home that night, I understood what Cathrine was trying to tell me about the bear. She had originally taken $20 of her own money to buy a souvenir of some kind. Before buying herself something, however, she wanted to buy some small gifts. So she started with two of her teachers and bought them each a small ring with the first initial of their last names. I looked at the price on the rings and saw each was $3.99. Times that by two, add tax, and Cathrine would have been left with $11 for other gifts and herself.

I imagine she stood at the gift store counter bewildered by what she had just done. She probably was embarrassed to ask any of her classmates for help. And maybe the teacher wasn't around. There she stood with just over half of her money left, and three brothers and a sister left to buy for. She decided to get a group gift, and that’s where the bear came in.

Standing in our kitchen, looking at the three items she purchased, I smiled brightly and told her how everyone was going to love their gifts, and what wonderful purchases she made. She smiled back and the night ended well.

The next morning as she wrapped up the little rings, I kept thinking about those two teachers who were going to receive a gift. All they would see is a little silver ring. They are wonderful women and I knew they would be very loving and appreciative. But would they truly understand the sacrifice Cathrine made?

Would they understand that their gifts cost Cathrine half of what she had? Will they understand the frustration and worry it caused Cathrine as she realized she didn't have enough to buy her family gifts? Would they treasure those little rings, or would they put them in a drawer with gifts from other students throughout the year?

As I pondered these thoughts, I considered a gift I was given 2000 years ago as God sent His son into the world as a baby, knowing Jesus would die on a cross for me. Do I truly understand the sacrifice of that gift? Do I understand the anguish God the Father must have felt? Do I treasure this gift, or do I take it for granted?

Christmas is a time for celebration. It is also a time to remember God’s sacrifice. For it is in understanding the cost, that we fully appreciate the gift.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, I thank You this Christmas season for the gift of Your son, Jesus. Help me to fully grasp what this gift must have cost You. As I give and receive gifts this month, help me to remember that the relationship I enjoy with You, and the eternal life I look forward to, came at a great cost. For that I am truly thankful. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

Related Resources:

Do you know Jesus?

 

A Thankful Heart by Carole Lewis

Provide educational opportunities and important life skills to a child in need through Compassion International

 

Visit Glynnis’ blog

 

Application Steps: 

List one thing you can do this week as a way of saying “thank you” to God for the gift of Jesus.

 

Reflections: 

Have you ever given a gift to someone, only to have them not appreciate it? How did you feel?

 

Consider what it cost God to send us Jesus. What do you think was the greatest sacrifice?

 

Power Verses:

John 4:10, “Jesus answered her, ’If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.’" (NIV)

 

2 Corinthians 9:15, “Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!” (NIV)

 

Ephesians 2:8, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.” (NIV)

 

© 2008 by Glynnis Whitwer. All rights reserved.

 

Proverbs 31 Ministries

616-G, Matthews-Mint Hill Road

Matthews, NC 28105

www.proverbs31.org