McMinnville Seventh-day Adventist Church


Be the Gift You Want to Receive

The story is told of a doting mother, wanting only the best for her two sons. So she builds up the courage to approach Jesus and kneels respectfully before Him to ask Him a favor. “What is your request?” Jesus asked. Doesn’t this sound just like Santa asking a child on his lap, “What do you want for Christmas?”

If Jesus asked you that question today, what would you ask for? Think about that . . .

When James and John’s mother asks for places of honor for her sons (Matthew 20:21), Jesus responds with, “You don’t know what you are asking!” That sounds like He’s saying, “Look, you’ve got it all wrong. You’re asking just like everyone else, but you’re not like everyone else. You’re different. You’re a child of the Kingdom, you’re already seated there, in the Kingdom (vs. 26-27).” So why would you want something there that you are not already receiving here? If you want to be respected and honored as a leader, give the gift of service. Be a servant.

At another time, Jesus and His disciples were seated near the temple treasury watching as people brought their gifts. Many were rich and gave large amounts. Then a poor widow came and gave only two mites, and Jesus says that’s not what it looks like. Don’t judge her by the wrong gift, as the world would. She did not give two mites, she gave her all, “her whole livelihood” (Mark 12:44). She knew what it meant to be the “gift that you want to receive”.

A classical illustration of this great truth is the gift that Solomon asked for (1 Kings 3). He doesn’t ask for riches or health or power. He asks for wisdom to know how to be the gift that he wants to receive – a righteous and understanding ruler who will fulfill the calling that God called him to be. God is pleased with Solomon’s request, and adds to his request what he did not ask for – riches, fame, and power over his enemies (vs 12-13).

Be the gift you want to receive is most clearly demonstrated in the requests that Jesus made. What did He ask for? In John 17 He prays, “Father . . . Glorify your Son so He can give glory back to You,” and then in Gethsemane He asks, “Abba, Father . . . Please take this cup of suffering away from Me. Yet I want Your will to be done, not mine” (Mark 14:36). To ask for the gift of selflessness and surrender (“not My will, but Thine”), is to be selfless and surrendered.

So, if you are what you ask, then you know you have not only asked for the right Gift, but you are where God wants you to be.

- Pastor Jerry Joubert