Good Gifts vs Great Gifts
By: Rebecca Barlow Jordan
Giving good gifts to our spouse can be difficult at times, especially with shrinking budgets. But is the cost of the gift really that important?
My husband and I learned a principle in Scripture from the life of King David that helped us answer that question. Pride motivated the king to take a census throughout the land to determine how huge an army he had built. It was not an ordinary census, and God knew it. God wanted David’s heart to depend on Him totally for everything—including his security, not on the number of soldiers who could fight for him.
David realized his sin and cried out for forgiveness. God granted that, but it cost David dearly in loss of lives. To stop God’s hand of judgment and more deaths, He required a gift—a sacrificial offering. The owner of a threshing floor (probably the same spot where Abraham had offered Isaac and later the site of Solomon’s temple), offered to give David his property as well as everything David needed for a burnt offering.
But David said no. His sin was costly to others, and he refused to offer anything to God that didn’t cost him something.
Through the years, my husband and I have tried to make our gifts to each other good gifts—ones that were special to each other, even when we were financially challenged (which happened a lot). When possible, in our budget we’ve tried to allot each other a small allowance each week: guilt-free money to save or spend as we wanted, no strings attached.
One year I decided to surprise Larry with a special gift. We both love fishing, but he had caught his dream catch the year earlier: a ten-pound bass. He released that bass, but I researched a local taxidermist and saved the money from my allowance that year. Then I sent the taxidermist a picture of the fish, and asked him to make a synthetic replica. Larry loved it!
Larry has done the same for me on many occasions: a surprise diamond he had saved for to replace the one I had lost in my wedding ring ten years earlier; a plane ticket and conference fee for a writer’s conference I really couldn’t afford.
But we’ve also learned to give gifts that cost us something other than money. More recently, another gift I gave Larry took time—an entire year. Month after month I squeezed in moments between writing to work on an old-fashioned scrapbook for our 50th anniversary. I dug through pictures, added inspirational sayings, and wrote personal love poems. From our first date to our recent celebration, I documented fifty years of our journey together. The gift was really not that expensive, but I wanted to give a worthy gift that cost me something.
And to help visualize our oft-quoted pledge to each other, Larry gave me a gift for our anniversary that cost him time, energy, and much thoughtfulness. He searched online and offline trying to find what he wanted. Too expensive. Then when he had almost given up, he stumbled onto a metal artist in our own town—a member of our former church. When he visited the man’s studio, he found exactly what he needed and placed the order. He framed the large carved, metal plaque over wood and it now hangs on our fireplace: Loving You Always and Forever. What a great gift!
Practicality and budgets may limit us from giving expensive gifts to our spouse on any occasion. And we can’t always surprise each other. But good gifts don’t have to be expensive to classify as great gifts. According to one of Job’s friends in the Bible, God is “famous for great and unexpected acts; there’s no end to his surprises” (Job 5:9 MSG). Because God knows what will give us joy.
Don’t we want that for our spouse? To bring each other a measure of joy? Our Father in heaven, our example and the only perfect One, gives us not only good gifts, but great gifts—perfect gifts (Matthew 7:11 VOICE). Didn’t He give us His greatest and most costly gift—His Son Jesus?
Good gifts can be bought, handmade, written, crafted, spoken, or built. Affordability is not the issue, but whether they cost us something—even if it’s thoughtfulness, energy, unselfishness, or time.
That’s when good gifts become great gifts.
Rebecca Barlow Jordan is a bestselling inspirational author and passionate follower of Jesus who loves to paint encouragement on the hearts of others. She has authored and contributed to over 20 books and has written over 2000 other articles, devotions, greeting cards, and other inspirational pieces. She is a regular Crosswalk contributor whose daily devotional Daily in Your Presence is also available for delivery through Crosswalk.com. You can sign up for Rebecca’s free ebook and find out more about her and her encouraging blog at www.rebeccabarlowjordan.com.
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