Grieving the Giver

A hypothetical man—let’s just call him Alan for the sake of expediency—was praying to God one day.

“Father God, why is it that You never give me any really cool spiritual gifts? I do what You ask. I go to church Sundays, Wednesdays, Men’s meetings, Father/Son events, Couple’s Group. My wife and I even lead a small group in our home. I understand You don’t give all gifts to everyone, but I just want things to be more exciting, purposeful, and worthwhile.”

The man waited for a reply.

What he got was silence.

In fact, Alan heard nothing from God the rest of the day. He went to bed that night, with the same prayer on his mind. Then he dreamed. Of Christmas morning.

In the dream, Alan and his wife stayed up the night before finishing some last-minute present wrapping. They craftily hid these gifts from curious eyes and hardy box shakers. Satisfied their surprise was set, they turned in, and set their alarm clock to be up and ready with cameras when their children awoke the next morning. Their anticipation in giving these hard-earned presents to their beloved easily equaled that felt by the children waiting impatiently for the Wonderful Day to arrive.

When the alarm sounded, Alan and his lovely wife kissed each other good-morning and rolled out of bed to get prepared. The kids would be awake soon.

As they pulled on their robes, they made final plans—she would take pictures and he would kneel by the tree calling to the kids to wake up and see the awesome toys and things awaiting them. Soon they were ready. “Merrrrrrrrrrrry Christmas!!!” Alan hollered with joy.

Seconds later, feet thumped the bedroom floor and squeals of happiness came down the hall. In the corner of the living room, the dog raised his head in the direction of the increasing ruckus. His little people were awake and on the way.

The youngest popped out of her bedroom first. As her small bare feet gained traction on the tile floor, her brother appeared from across the hall—hot on her heels. It was a drag race now. They skidded into the living room and saw their father in front of the tree, arms open to receive their morning hugs, and behind him, the tree. And what a tree it was—loaded with many more gifts than the night before, prior to going to bed.

Alan braced himself for the onslaught of two small bodies hitting him at full speed, ready to grab them, kiss them, and love on them. But when they reached him, they ducked under his arms and fell to their knees in front of the tree, searching frantically for gifts with their name on them, oblivious to their slightly less-excited parents.

The sounds of ripping paper faded and at that moment, Alan awoke. His wife was sleeping soundly beside him. Everything was quiet, except for his spirit—which was broken.

“Now you understand.”

“Yes, Lord.”

“All those gifts I have already given you, are they worn out? Broken? Useless?”

“No, Father.”

“As long as you seek My gifts, but do not seek Me, the gifts I have already given you will lose their luster and shine. All the gifts I have ever given are the same in My eyes. No single gift is greater than the other. But when you seek My gifts and not My heart I am grieved.”

“I’m so sorry, Father. Please forgive my selfish attitude.”

When you seek His gifts without seeking His heart, God is grieved. I am as guilty of this as anyone.

Lord, forgive me for grieving You, the Giver. Holy Spirit, help me to seek the Father’s heart more and what I can get from Him a little less. Amen.

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