Bethlehem Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO
INI + AMEN.
Gifts. The Lord Jesus gives them. Gifts. We like them. Of course we do. I mean: come on! Who doesn’t like gifts? Gifts. It’s why we’re here today. Should be why we’re here. There’s so many gifts afoot today. It’s hard to keep them all straight. So many gifts being doled out today—an extra slice of pie. So many gifts will be bought tomorrow—Black Friday. So many Gifts delivered Sunday after Sunday here—the Lord Jesus’ gift-giving place.
Gifts. The Father of Jesus is the Fountain and Source of all gifts and goodness, and, in and through His Son Jesus, “He provides all that we need” not only “to support this body and life” but to support the soul and eternal resurrected body life.
Gifts. They’re given. All sorts. All from above. Gifts given to be received. Gifts given to be enjoyed. The true God is all about gifts and gift giving.
((2. What sort of gifts do we get hung up on?))
So, with all these gifts, what sort of gifts do we get hung up on? Sadly, the answer to that question isn’t so good. “Daily and much” we go down the path of emptiness. Wanting, seeking, and striving for temporary gifts. Gifts that don’t last past this life, tomorrow, or even today!
“Teacher, tell my brother to split the inheritance with me.” … “I know what I’ll do. I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones.” We get hung up on wordly gifts. When yeilds are off the charts, we worry about prices. When prices are good, we worry about yields. All because we worry about “having enough.” When would it be enough? When you can finally say, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry”?
We stuff ourselves with food, but we’ll be hungry tomorrow. We stuff our homes with things that’ll eventually make their way to a farm sale going to the highest bidder. But we care so much about these things, and if we calculate a shortfall, it’s as if the Lord doesn’t care. That He’s left us all on our own. We end up trusting the gift and not the Giver.
Sadly, we don’t get hung up like that on His eternal gifts—the ones Jesus died to give. Not one bit! If those went away, would life be much different? Shouldn’t it be? We don’t treat Jesus like a Teacher Whose Word actually delivers eternal life through our ears into our heart, mind, body, and soul. He wants to make us rich toward God, abundantly giving us the most precious thing in all eternity! He wants to deliver into our mouths His body and blood, that we would have eternal riches and forgiveness without measure.
((1. What sort of gift-Giver is Jesus?))
Now, when it comes to gifts being doled out, we have to keep in mind that all gifts have a Giver. So, what sort of gift-Giver is Jesus?
When it comes to our earthly gifts, they are from the Lord. “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights.” The Father of Jesus, on account of His Son, delivers the gifts of this life to all. He gives them to the evil, people who trust themselves and those earthly gifts. He gives them to the good, people who trust His Son Jesus, the Giver of gifts.
Yet, while He does give them, Jesus isn’t a “judge or arbitrator” of those earthly gifts, contracts, or covenenants. He is the Mediator of a different covenant. The covenant of His blood. Blood shed for all your cornucopia of “covetousness.” Wanting the gifts but not the Giver. So, for your wanting what’s temporary, God Himself became temporary—dying for you. For your not wanting what’s eternal, He cherished the eternal Law and bore the eternal wrath of His Father in your place .
He is that sort of Mediator so that He can do what you don’t deserve: dole out and deliver heavenly riches. Yes, He did all that He did so that you wouldn’t have what is fleeting and false, but what is true. He’s the Mediator, Giver, and Gifter of eternal riches, His own riches: eternal life, eternal goodness, eternal salvation. That’s what Jesus, your God, is all about—making you rich toward His and your heavenly Father.
Gifts. We like them. All sorts being given out. All from the Father of lights, in and through His Son, Jesus. Jesus really is the Giver of earthly gifts, but He’s the Mediator of better, more lasting Gifts. He really does give so much to you and for you.
JESUS DOLES OUT TRUE AND ENRICHING GIFTS.
We should desire those Gifts most of all. We should live begiftedly—from and through the Gifts. For this reason Jesus doles out His life for you. Because we don’t live life that way. We should daily live in our Baptisms. But we “daily and much” strive not for the Giver of the gift but rather the gift. These earthly gifts are truly gifts. They are! Gifts given to be received. Gifts given to be enjoyed. But gifts not given to be trusted. But “daily and much” we do.
Trust is for the eternal Gifts Jesus doles out. Trust because in those Gifts the Giver is given. His righteousness. His forgiveness. His salvtion. And, at His Dinner, the Giver gives out what is most true, most enriching: His eternally priceless blood, the very cost, source, pledge, and seal of your salvation.
JESUS DOLES OUT TRUE AND ENRICHING GIFTS. So that you would live begiftedly—from and through the Gifts. His Baptism, His Word, His shed blood, His given body do exactly that. They are true and enriching, and so you are rich, you are begifted—only in those Gifts!
And we are truly thankful for these Gifts. Thankful by receiving, by hearing, by eating and drinking, for that’s why Jesus gave them. Not just thankful today or tomorrow or everyday, but thankful forever. JESUS DOLES OUT TRUE AND ENRICHING GIFTS. And in His body and blood you truly are rich toward God forever.
INI + AMEN.