(They certainly weren’t practical gifts. What can a baby do with gold? I’ve had a kid, and he would play for hours with an empty paper towel roll. If we were going out to dinner and wished not to be lynched by fellow diners, we made sure we had a set of car keys or a teething ring to keep him happy. Myrrh would not have bought us enough silence to order drinks.)
The wise men’s gifts were not good gifts because Jesus needed them, but because they reflected a right view of who Jesus is.
Now look at what other people in the Bible brought to God:
- The woman at the well brought loneliness, disgrace, and a checkered past. She was saved. (John 4)
- A widow brought two coins and a ton of trust. She was praised. (Mark 12)
- Mary brought tears and perfume. She was loved. (Luke 7)
- Moses brought a speech impediment and a stick. He led his people out of Egypt. (Exodus)
It isn’t that these people had a lot to offer. What could we possibly have that God needs? The important thing is that these people brought everything they had and all that they were. And Jesus demands no less than all: “In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:33).
Compare that to the rich young ruler, who walked away sad. (Mark 10) He would have been happy to give Christ his leftovers, but not his all. The thought of giving God ownership of his wealth was enough to turn him away.
So what do you bring to Jesus? It’s ok if it isn’t much, so long as it’s everything.
“But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ” (Phil. 3:7-8).