You’ve heard the expression, You cannot out-give God. I don’t know anyone who has ever attempted this task, but it will never be accomplished. God is and will always remain the ultimate giver and His ultimate gift was given when He allowed His own heart to be broken as His only Son died on the cross for our sin.
As I am following the Easter story this Lenten Season I am realizing that therewere many who gave gifts to Jesus as He traveled to Jerusalem. Perhaps the mostextravagant gift giver was Mary of Bethany. She gave the gift of a jar of pureperfume that was worth a whole year’s wages. Simon the Leper gave the giftof a dinner held in Jesus’ honor and Martha; Mary’s sister gave thegift of her beautiful service as she made Simon’s guests comfortable. Thefollowing day Jesus traveled to Jerusalem on a borrowed donkey that was His giftfor the afternoon. The disciples gave their cloaks for Jesus to sit on whileon the donkey. The crowds gave their cloaks for Jesus to ride over; the palmtrees offered their branches (with the help of people) for Jesus to walk over.It’s important for us to be gift givers like our extravagant God. All thesepeople gave something of value and importance, but all received much more thanthey sacrificed.
What these givers to Jesus received from giving is not recorded in Scripture,but it’s something you can imagine from your own personal experiences.Have you ever, like Mary, been led and obedient in doing or giving somethingthat did not make rational sense? Sometimes God asks me to do the peculiar. It’sonly in obeying Him that I am blessed. Jesus’ words of affirmation andpromise of fame to Mary were the gift of confidence that she really was hearingand obeying the voice of God. The man who gave his donkey had much to think throughafter his colt, which had never been ridden before, was returned. When did hemake the connection between the donkey’s fur that formed the shape of across and the cross of Calvary? Was he the first one to make this connection,understanding the significance of why certain donkeys’ fur grew in thatway? (Jerusalem donkey breeds grow fur grows in the shape of a cross across itsback and front legs; look for this on the next donkey you see.) What about thecrowds? Though they went home with dirty cloaks that needed washing, wasn’tit worth it to them to be a part of such a spiritually significant day?
What are you giving to Jesus this Lenten Season? Have you offered to not eatcertain foods to remind yourself of Jesus’ sacrifice? Have you offeredspeaking only kind words to your husband? (By the way I see God working throughme and as expected, I have messed up a lot and experienced the beauty of mercyfrom my husband and my Sweet Jesus.) Have you discovered that whatever you havesacrificed has come back to you already? What benefits do you find in the giftsyou have given this season?