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Give Me Gifts

Give Me Gifts

All fat is the LORD’S. Leviticus 3:16

Last Sunday was Father’s Day, and so, my kids came out for dinner, both giving me gifts that cost them something. Both gifts were meaningful, and I was touched by their thoughtfulness and generosity. The thing is, I don’t need them to give me stuff. I have more money than they do. They’re both still in school, working summer jobs just to scrape by. Financially, they’re in no position to contribute to my life. Still, my wife and I have raised them in such a manner that they give gifts at Christmas, birthdays, and on Father’s Day. When they were little, we gave them gifts on such occasions and when Mother’s Day approached, I took them shopping to buy something for their mother. This is a learned behavior that we have ingrained in them. Why?

We teach our kids to give gifts – even when it doesn’t make any financial sense – because we desire to teach them gratitude. We want our kids to be thoughtful and to show their love and appreciation for those who’re important in their lives. No one wants their kids to be ungrateful, so we teach them to give of what they have, even when they don’t have much. It may not be a meaningful financial transaction to us, but our pleasure in receiving those gifts doesn’t come from making money off our kids. Rather, we find joy in recognizing that our kids love us and are willing to spend their own time and money to show us that love. It’s good for our kids to give and we derive pleasure from it.

Today’s passage reveals a similar sentiment between God and his people. In the passage, as God laid out the rules for animal sacrifice, he explained that when a peace offering was made, all the fat belonged to him. Those making the offering of an animal could eat part of that animal, but the fat was to be saved for God. Why? Was God calorie deficient? Was he trying to save his people from heart disease? Apparently, the fat would have been considered the most flavorful part of the animal, and so, God taught his children to save that part, gifting it to him. The reason behind it, I believe, is the same reason we teach our kids to give gifts – God derives joy from us giving something meaningful to him, and it’s healthy for us to show our appreciation and love for him.

Because of Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross, we no longer offer animal sacrifices, so, how can we give to God? We can give of that which is meaningful to us. We can give of our effort, serving those around us in need. We can spend time with God, and we can give of our money to church and charities. We don’t want our kids to grow up to be ungrateful brats. Likewise, God desires that we practice gratitude. He doesn’t need our stuff, but he derives joy from our gratitude and it’s healthy for us to generously give back to God.

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