“A gift opens the way and ushers the giver into the presence of the great” – Proverbs 18:16 (NIV).
Every culture in the world has certain unique characteristics. For example, the Japanese have been noted for their extreme politeness to strangers. There are cultures where people tend to be aloof and quite insular. The Germans are not very expressive, unlike their Latin neighbours, the Italians. In Uganda the Bakiga are famous for being very forthright.
Among the Hebrews there are quite a number of characteristics that define their culture. One of these is the habit of gift giving. This can be traced to their relationship with God. For example, when Abraham was up in years and finally had a son he was tasked, “Then God said, “Take your son your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you” (Gen 22:2). Imagine presenting your very and only child you have longed for years as a gift!
The Hebrew culture stresses a lot of importance on gift giving when one is ushered in the presence of the Almighty God. When the three wise men saw the star in the East and conceded it must herald the coming of the Messiah, they gathered not to visit empty handed, but went with “treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh” (Mathew 2: 11).
Drawing from all this we might think of borrowing from the Hebrews this part of their culture- go with gifts whenever we visit the Lord!
Prayer for today: Lord Father God of Abraham, maker of heaven and earth, as I thank you for the gift of your son Jesus Christ as my saviour, teach me how to walk in your presence ever with gifts, as one way of thanksgiving!”