Giving Down...

  • Friday, January 8, 2010
  • The Biblical pattern is a motif of "giving up."

    Received lots of thoughtful and appreciated presents for Christmas. And then my birthday arrived. Again, lots of very nice gifts were received. The most "valuable" presents came from grandkids. Yesterday afternoon, six of them occupied themselves with glue, construction paper, markers, and glitter. LOTS of glitter! For my birthday I received hand-made, individually fashioned, message-specific birthday cards. That is truly "giving up."

    "Giving up" is the pattern we observe throughout the narrative of the Scriptures.

    • Cain and Abel bringing offerings before the Lord...the "lesser" giving a gift to the "greater."
    • Jacob, the younger brother seeking to pacify the anger of the brother against whom he had sinned, says, "Please, if now I have found favor in your sight, then take my present from my hand, for I see your face as one sees the face of God, and you have received me favorably." Genesis 33:10
    • Those who esteemed Solomon as a great man of wisdom would approach him with gifts in the hand. 1 Kings 10:23-25 reads, "So King Solomon became greater than all the kings of the earth in riches and in wisdom...they brought every man his gift, articles of silver and gold, garments, weapons, spices, horses, and mules..." These are obviously gifts of such value that he could have personally secured them with his own wealth. But these were acts of "giving up" where those who saw themselves as the "lesser" would honor the one they viewed to be the "greater"...they were "giving up."
    • Actually, Solomon reinforced this pattern of "giving up" when he wrote, "A man's gift makes room for him and brings him before great men." Proverbs 18:16
    • When men of science and research came from the East to worship the newborn King, they came with gifts in the, frankincense, myrrh...acts of "giving up," they being the lesser and this newborn child the greater.
    "Giving up" is the act of expressing love or respect or esteem or kindness. The gift being presented is not nearly as important as the motive behind the giving. In fact, the actual object involved is most generally of a lesser dollar value than the recipient of that gift might have been able to afford were they making the purchase themselves. (Regrettably, we seem to be witnessing a trend toward the "recipient" actually making the purchase, or at least the decision about what will be "given," and thereby securing the object of desirability, while it seems to me, devaluing the purpose of gift "giving" all together! But that's just one man's opinion...and never let it be said I didn't have an opinion L).

    "Giving up" is the act of grandchildren expressing their love to Papa's and Nana's. The thing given and received is not valued on the basis of what it is but by the standard of who did the giving! "Giving down" is the act of grandparents showering gifts upon grandchildren...again, thoughtfully selected, often of far greater dollar value, but once more connected to the motive of love. The best part of my Christmas was the privilege of "giving down."

    With this motif of the "lesser" presenting gifts to the "greater" streaming through the text of Scripture, while he is encouraging them in their desire to "give up" their financial offerings for God's glory, the apostle Paul reminds the financially challenged congregation in Corinth that God has broken the pattern of giving. Instead of the "lesser" presenting gifts to the "greater" as acts of esteem, respect and love, God, the "greater" actually gave a gift to the "lesser." And the gift He gave was of far greater value then anything they could have done or that they could have secured of their own effort! For this reason Paul writes in stunned amazement, "Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!" 2 Corinthians 9:15

    The joy displayed in the act of "giving up" is delight on the face of the one who gave as they watch closely the pleasure in the face of the one to whom the gift was given.

    The joy displayed in the act of "giving down" is delight in the face of the one who has received the gift and suddenly becomes aware of the true value of that which has been received.

    God broke the Biblical pattern by "Giving down"! Indescribable! Delight is written all over the faces of those who have received.


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