According to recent statistics, parents spend an average of $1,500 a year on clothes for their kids and $450 a year on furnishings for their kids’ rooms. Children as young as elementary school age have cell phones, portable digital audio players, high-definition televisions and multiple video game platforms. Every year, parents in the United States spend tens of billions of dollars on Christmas gifts for their kids.
These statistics reflect more than rampant consumerism. They reflect the desire of parents to give gifts to their kids. Parents have always wanted their children to have good things.
Jesus used this universal truth to teach us of the power of prayer. It is a natural instinct to care for our child, to respond when our child asks for help or food or even a present. How much more will our heavenly Father give good gifts to his children!
Unlike earthly parents, God the Father gives perfect gifts because they are spiritual gifts uniquely suited to each of us. There’s no such thing as a Christian who’s been spoiled rotten with spiritual gifts. God gives us gifts that fit us perfectly, gifts that fill and complete us. How are we to respond to such generosity? By using those gifts to the utmost. Isn’t that what every parent wants their child to do? We offer our children good things, so they’ll know they are loved. But we want them to use their gifts often and take care of them.
And God wants us to delight in his good gifts. What parent wants a child to put a present back under the Christmas tree and walk away disappointed? We want to see joy on our child’s face as she receives gifts from us. We want her to enjoy what we have given her. We know she loves her doll if she picks it up and hugs it. We’re sure he loves his bike if he climbs on and rides it. Our heavenly Father longs for us to enjoy the gifts he gives, to wrap our arms around them and use them for his good pleasure. God’s gifts are there for the taking . . . with pleasure.
“If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”