Grow Deep - The Excellent Encounter Edition Week 3

Week 3: December 15 – 21

Give the Most Expensive Gift

Memory Verse: “But they first gave themselves to the Lord and to us by the will of God.” 2 Corinthians 8:5

Think about the best material gift you have ever received. Who gave it to you? Was it a surprise? Why was it special? The best material gift that I’ve ever received was given to me on my 30th birthday. My husband and two-year-old son sat me down on the couch, asked me to close my eyes, and presented me with a little pink gift bag. Inside was a beautiful diamond anniversary band, and the enclosed note said that the gift was from “the two luckiest guys in the world” who loved me very much. Of course, my heart melted. I was thrilled at the unexpected treasure. But soon my excitement was tempered with worry about how we could afford such an extravagant gift. It was clearly beyond our means. Should I suggest that we return it?

God desires that we give extravagantly, even beyond our ability. He asks that we give the most expensive gift of all—the gift of ourselves. We are to give generously and with a cheerful heart, out of thanks for the abundance of gifts He showers upon us. God sacrificed his Son to give us eternal life. He did so out of His indescribable love for us, in order to save the world. As God’s children, we are forever changed. We are to cast off the wickedness of the world and reflect God’s goodness, mercy, and light. As our trust in Him grows, His Spirit motivates us to give the priceless gift of ourselves to those around us.

I decided not to return the lovely ring that “my guys” gave me so long ago. It was given and received with utter joy, and I have worn it nearly every day for the last 23 years. One day I will gift the ring to my two beautiful daughters. Every time I look at it, I’m reminded of my love for my family. I’m also reminded of all the extravagant, undeserved gifts that God has given me. What a wonderful gift. What a wonderful God!

Sunday, December 15
Read: 2 Corinthians 8:1-7
Reflect: Paul commends the Corinthian Christians for their generosity. The best, most expensive gift is the gift they gave—the gift of themselves.
Reflect: What is your attitude toward giving? Do you give joyously or with reservation? How can you give the gift of yourself to someone who needs it this week?

Monday, December 16
Read: John 3:9-21
God the Father gave the gift of eternal life to all who believe in His Son, but it cost Him the life of His Son. God gave His Son to the world out of love—not to condemn the world, but to save it. It was the most magnificent gift of all.
Reflect: What will you do today to acknowledge this gift? How is your life now different because of it?

Tuesday, December 17
Read: 1 John 3:11-24
Christ’s generous giving is to be an example to all who abide in Him. In giving His life for us, Jesus showed us who He is and gave us a clear picture of loving sacrifice.
Reflect: What action will you take this week to demonstrate your love for a brother or sister in Christ? In what ways could you show that God lives in you?

Wednesday, December 18
Read: Matthew 6:1-4
Our giving isn’t to earn praise or reward from the world. As Christians, our giving should be motivated by a desire to glorify God, not ourselves.
Reflect: What is your motivation for giving? Do you do it to gain the recognition of others? How will you glorify God in the gifts you give this Christmas? Who needs your help?

Thursday, December 19
Read: Luke 21:1-4
It isn’t about an amount we spend. The poor widow gave all she had, and her gift was far more meaningful than the larger gifts others gave out of their wealth.
Reflect: Is your giving sacrificial? Does it reflect a trust in God to provide for your needs? Whose example will you follow in your giving this year?

Friday, December 20
Read: 2 Corinthians 9:6-15
Paul wants his readers to understand what our attitude about giving should be and the reason for it. He instructs that we are to give cheerfully out of thanks for all that God has given us. If we give sparingly or begrudgingly, it reflects a distance between God and us.
Reflect: What is your attitude toward giving? Is your heart in it? What will you do this Christmas season to grow closer to God so you can give without fear or hesitancy?

Saturday, December 21
Read: Romans 6:20-23
Ultimately, no gift is better than the one we have already been given in Christ who set us free from sin and gave us eternal life in Him. That freedom leads us to live lives fully devoted to Him.
Reflect: Eternal life through Christ begins now and lasts forever. How does the life you’re living now reflect God’s righteousness? What will you do today to grow in His likeness? What steps will you take to be who God created you to be?