Verses from Mama
By Sandra Sheridan
Exodus 20:3 “You shall have no other gods before me.”
The holiday season is a time of giving. We spend much thought and money trying to find the perfect gift for our loved ones, hoping to bring them joy and happiness. But what if the recipient loved our gift more than they loved us? This would be a hard pill to swallow.
Today’s verse is the first of the Ten Commandments God gave to the children of Israel on Mount Sinai. God had miraculously brought them out of Egypt where they had been enslaved for 400 years. In Egypt, Pharaoh was considered a god to be worshiped along with many other so-called deities. The Lord wanted His children to understand that He was their Master now and that He demanded their exclusive worship.
Christians today do not have the problem of worshiping other gods – or do we? When we give our lives over to God, He becomes our loving Master and desires all our worship. Because He loves us He gives us many gifts. Unfortunately, we often become enamored with the gifts and forget the Giver. By putting more effort and time into these God-given blessings than we put into our relationship with Him, we have elevated another “god” before Him.
When we were first married we lived in an apartment complex where there were many working couples who traveled into New York City daily for their jobs. They were often not at home, so we were somewhat lonely. Eventually we met a couple about our age whom we wanted to get to know. We invited them over for dinner hoping to develop a friendship. I spent many hours preparing the food and cleaning house.
When they arrived, we were so pleased to sit down to eat with them and get to know them. The joy was short-lived because soon after we were done eating the man announced that they needed to leave so he could get home in time for the basketball game that was on TV that night.
They thanked me for the food and went out the door. They were not even in their cars before I broke down in tears. I wanted to serve them a nice dinner, but I didn’t do it for that reason alone. What I wanted was a relationship. They took the gift and forgot the giver.
I think this must be how God feels when we spend so much time, money and energy enjoying the gifts He gives and yet never have time to spend with Him in prayer or Bible study. How would we respond if God asked us to give up that game, money, position or house? Would we cling to these other gods or would we gladly relinquish them because the Giver is the most important?
This holiday season consider this: What do you love more – the gifts or the Giver?