What is on your Christmas list?
We are all about the Christmas gift list these days. Our friends and family ask what we want. We, the gift-buyers, also want to get the perfect gift for others. Lists and suggestions are on Pinterest, Twitter, and every other social media. Gift-giving anxiety has even birthed the prolific “Registry” industry. We have wedding registries, baby registries, and even graduation registries. Gift registries for all kinds of purposes (yes, even Christmas) are multiplying rapidly. The website, Giftster, offers the convenience of all our registries in one place. Wow, who knew?
Do you have a Christmas list to present to God?
Prayer is our divine gift registry. The Bible repeatedly tells us to bring our requests to God. Even as repetitious as the persistent widow, our continuous conversation with the Lord changes things. Our Lord wants to hear our needs, hurts, and even our wants.
What longings have you brought before His throne of grace?
Hebrew sage and author, Agur, had a gift list for God. Recorded in the 30th chapter of Proverbs, he prayed…
Two things I ask of you,
do not refuse me before I die:
Keep falsehood and lies far from me;
give me neither poverty nor riches,
but give me only my daily bread.
Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you
and say ‘Who is the Lord?’
Or I may become poor and steal,
and so dishonor the name of my God.
Nestled in the midst of my favorite wisdom chapter, Agur’s two-item list highlights the most basic needs for this life: truth and sustenance.
Truth. In middle school, I became trapped in a cycle of deceit. My friend asked me to lie about a bicycle accident to avoid punishment. We were riding in a neighborhood where we were not supposed to be. I agreed to her made-up story. The lie forced more lies and brought much anxiety until the truth came out.
Falsehoods create a tangled mess. Deceit takes us onto a path from which it is difficult to depart. The prayer for truth reaches into all aspects of our lives. Lies twist our hearts along with those of the people around us. Ultimately, truth will emerge somewhere along the journey. How many people do you know are repelled from the church because they learn the truth of hypocrisy before believers themselves become aware?
Sustenance. Daily manna is all the nourishment that we need (Matthew 6:11). The opposite extremes of too much and too little both have their snares. Their resulting temptations crack open the door to grievous consequences.
Our desire for more than our daily portion can allow greed and selfishness to overtake us. Sadly, we begin to confuse our wants as needs. We feel that we need more. Abundant riches, pleasures, and honors, however, do not bring happiness. The struggles of multi-millionaire professional athletes and actors alike are frequently on the news testifying to this reality.
Scarcity, on the other hand, can cause people to react with apprehension. Self-preservation and protection of family can lead anyone to desperate actions. The search for the basic necessities can become all-consuming or even turn illegal. Either way, the path leads away from God as Agur so articulately prayed.
Two-part Gift List
Spiritual truth and physical bread. When we submit to God’s will, we find this two-part list completely satisfying. Contentment fills our souls even amidst the struggles of every day life (1 Timothy 6:6-10). We will always wrestle with the marathon challenges of truth and sustenance. But we can know His peace.
We cling to the One who cares for the birds of the air and the flowers of the field. We can depend on this same Lord for our needs (Matthew 6:26). As Agur points out, our physical life and spiritual life are intricately linked in this earthly journey. Our faith in God alone guides along the path. Choose wisely.
What is on your gift list for God? How can Agur’s list encourage you in your prayers this season?
Posted by Sharon R Hoover
Image courtesy of Anankkml at FreeDigitalPhotos.net