Presence or Presents?
A friend of mine recently returned from a trip to Las Vegas. No, he wasn’t there to gamble or even eat at the sumptuous buffets. As a postal employee, he was there to introduce a new stamp honoring magic. David Copperfield was his guest and crowds of philatelists (stamp collectors) thronged to purchase the first run.
Stamp collecting is a popular hobby, but stamps tucked away in albums are unused potential. They aren’t sending a card or letter. They aren’t being sold for a profit. They sit in plastic protectors while their owners gloat over their acquisition.
Many people approach God this way. They wish to “collect” His promises and gifts. Like Simon in Acts 8, they might even wish they could purchase His magic and miracles, if they were indeed for sale, and they give money or time in hopes of earning God’s favor. God’s offerings become “idols”—more important than God Himself. Faith is mustered to receive them. Peace, love, joy and other spiritual gifts are hoarded, not used for God’s purposes, but only sought for personal comfort and glory.
God wants us to seek His presence, not His presents. He wants us to use His gifts for His purposes, not desire them for our own purposes. When we seek God, willing to do whatever He asks of us, even if it hurts, we will be surprised that an abundance of benefits follow. Like Phillip, Peter and John, who were willing to lay their lives on the line for Jesus, we will find that God will provide all we need as we focus on seeking Him and serving Him.
“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33).