When it comes to gift-giving, you want to give something that lasts, right? Not something easily broken or the latest fad. Something that impacts a life in a positive way.
That’s especially true if you’re a parent or grandparent, right? Or an aunt or uncle or foster mom or youth group leader. If you have children in your life that you influence, you want to give them gifts that make a lasting difference in their life.
Well, you’re in luck. I have a great gift list for you! And they’re all free. The best gifts that money can’t buy!
The first priceless gift may seem odd but it’s a powerful one: the ability to suffer well.
Whether it’s the loss of a job, the breakup with a boyfriend or girlfriend, not getting chosen for the team, wrecking your car, getting a cancer diagnosis, or losing a friend— in this life, everyone, everywhere, at some point, suffers. Preparing a young person with the skills of resilience and perseverance they need to get through those tough spots is a priceless gift.
The apostle Paul knew all about this. Think of the epistle to the Philippians which he wrote from prison while in chains.
“For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him,” Paul writes, “but also to suffer for him” (Philippians 1:29).
The second best gift that money can’t buy actually has to do with money! Teaching young people how to manage their finances.
If kids don’t apply biblical values to financial decisions, they’re destined for heartache! College plans can fizzle. Marriages can crumble over money misunderstandings. Business dreams can fall apart.
Jesus said in Matthew 6:21, “Wherever your treasure is, there your heart will follow.” Whatever kids learn from us about money, that’s where their heart is going to land. And if it lands in places that God isn’t, then they won’t be following Christ.
The third priceless gift is a shrewd one: instilling in children the best way to make wise choices.
Someone said, “We make our choices. Then our choices make us.” Few skills are more influential is determining our children’s quality of life and sense of purpose. Good choices, based on God’s truth, result in a rewarding career path, in happy marriages, and in satisfying service to our Lord.
This is what the apostle Paul described in his prayer in Philippians 1:9-11:
“And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.”
What’s the fourth gift that keeps on giving? Failure is never final.
We won’t be successful unless we understand this. And here’s a cool thing: When you unwrap this gift, you’ll find that inside, it’s actually God’s amazing gift of grace.
God is for us. God is a God of forgiveness. He has our lives planned out and the plans are for our good. As Psalm 51 paints so beautifully, when we mess up and confess our transgressions, we’re not doomed to be messed up the rest of our lives. His mercy and grace defines us, not failure.
And the last priceless gift? God has created each of us with an innate personality, with unique abilities and passions. We’re called to bring these along with our experiences into our lives and serve God with them. The gift is a biblical concept of work.
“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10).
So there you have it. The five best gifts that money can’t buy: The ability to suffer, how to handle money, good decision-making, realization that failure is not final, and a biblical concept of work.
So here’s the bottom line: you cannot give what you do not possess. Do you have these five priceless gifts?
Unpack the things money cannot buy in Chip Ingram’s series, The Priceless Christmas.
Founder & Teaching Pastor, Living on the Edge
Chip Ingram is the CEO and teaching pastor of Living on the Edge, an international teaching and discipleship ministry. A pastor for over thirty years, Chip has a unique ability to communicate truth and challenge people to live out their faith. He is the author of many books, including The Real God, Culture Shock and The Real Heaven. Chip and his wife, Theresa, have four grown children and twelve grandchildren and live in California.More Articles by Chip