It’s cold! When it gets cold like this I can’t help but start thinking about Christmas. Now, I’m not one of those people who are already listening to Christmas music, and I wouldn’t dare put lights on my house yet, but I am already thinking about Advent. It is the time of year the has the most impact in my life. This week I keep thinking about the wise men; those guys from a far off land that brought gifts of frankincense, gold, and myrrh to Jesus. They saw a sign in the sky that they knew marked the birth of the great king so they brought gifts just right for a king.
When we hear about Jesus and come to find out more about him we all bring things with us. I think it is reasonable to wonder, “What gift can I bring Jesus?” Well Jesus himself has told us what he would have us bring. He wants us to bring him the thing that we have built that we think makes us special. He wants us to bring it to him so he can get rid of it. Jesus said this to almost everyone that came to him asking how they could have the life he offered. He once struck up a conversation with a lady from Samaria. Using a metaphor for eternal life, he offered to give her living water that she could drink and never be thirsty again. She said, “Give it to me!” Jesus responded, “Bring me your husband.” What a weird thing to say! But Jesus knew that this woman was living her life going from one relationship to another seeking happiness. She believed with all her heart that if she just found the right relationship she would be satisfied, she would be happy, she would have value. She had placed all of herself in this. Jesus essentially says to her, “If you want me, you have to bring me this sin.”
He deserves gifts for a king, but what we bring to Jesus for salvation must be empty hands. He will not have us if our value is wrapped up in something besides him. We cannot bring our ash with us. And this is for our own good. It is because of his great love for us that he prevents us bringing anything. No good work, no wealth, no family heritage, no false identities. We must come to him admitting we have nothing to offer. If we cannot let go of what we have made of ourselves we can never become what he longs to make us into.
Birmingham Community Church