How often do you hear of better gifts than money? Let me tell you one such story. From the Bible, no less. (Acts 3:3-7). Let's see what we can learn about giving the best gifts from what happened at the gate.
When the poor, disabled man, sitting at the Gate Beautiful saw two men about to enter, he did as was his business habit of long standing, he asked them for money.
Peter, the more energetic, out-spoken of the two men said, "Look at us!"
The poor beggar looked up, thinking, 'Ah, this time I'm going to get something.'
Peter said in essence, "I don't have money, but I'll give you what I do have - in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, Walk!" Then he grabbed the seated man by his hand and helped him to his feet.
Instantly, the man began to feel strength and energy in his feet and ankles and he began to jump around, whirling and shouting praises to God. For sure this was something better than some token coins in his hand.
Peter and John had no wealth, not even a coin to offer the poor, crippled man at the gate. But they knew they had better gifts than money to offer. If they had given him the money he expected, that man would have had to continue to beg there, day after day. The gift of physical healing utterly changed his life though. Now he could be with his family, if he had any, and he could work and earn far more money than he might get at begging. What's more, he recognized God's touch on him, and this gave him a whole new relationship with God - that brings on many more gifts far more glorious than a few coins each day. For a fact, he received far better gifts than money!
I see lessons here for both the needy and those have resources for giving.
First, to the needy. You short-change yourself if you think that all you need is money and then you'll have a bite to eat. You may continue to live another day or so, but your living is of no better quality than you have right now. Are you satisfied with that? Do you ever consider that you need some better gifts than money?
If you can visualize a better quality of life and see what you need to get that, you will discover that you need some gifts that only God can supply. Look to Him and ask God for those better gifts. But remember, that He will probably use ordinary people to give you those gifts in His name.
The first gift that God is holding out to you is eternal life. Even the poor have faith. It is by faith that you receive the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross for your own sin and shame, and with that, Jesus' righteousness, and adoption into the Family of God. As God's son or daughter you have access to all spiritual gifts in Heaven. Again, by faith.
Then, if you lack for daily bread, a home, meaningful work, etc., you can pray and receive all these practical gifts too. They may involve money, but if you recognize that God is able to give you all these things without ever putting any money into your hands, then you will understand that there are better gifts than money.
Now to those with a generous, giving heart, please understand that you can give despite your poverty. If you have received God's gift of eternal life, and all that comes with it, you have the power to give these heavenly gifts in the name of Jesus! Yes, even if you haven't got a coin to your name.
Should you be blessed with large bank accounts and many possessions, you are in danger of thinking that all you have to give is money. Your wealth can accomplish many good things, but understanding that spiritual gifts are better gifts than money can improve how and when and why you give the money at all. We need to beg God to give us the gift of discernment to know in what situations the giving of money will only perpetuate the treadmill of poverty that the recipient will remain on. We are so much wiser to watch for ways to use our money to provide the spiritual gifts first. They will do the poor souls so much more good!
Of course, there are times when money - if we have it to give - is the appropriate gift. Stop to think and listen. The Holy Spirit will reveal to us when that is, and also how, and how much to give.
Let this be a reminder to us to make an inventory of the spiritual gifts we could give, and to be alert for the right times to give them. If the Lord wants us to give money, He will provide it.
Of course, we won't have these spiritual gifts to give unless we spend some quality time each day studying God's Word, and fellowshipping with Him in prayer, and learning how to ask for and receive these gifts ourselves; love - joy - peace - patience - kindness - goodness - faithfulness - gentleness and self-control. We can best give these gifts, better than money, if we have these resources ourselves and understand their tremendous value. However, we will not diminish our supply - as we are giving from God's immense warehouse!
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