WHAT IS THE BEST VALENTINE’S GIFT YOU CAN GIVE JESUS?
By: Frank G. Tunstall
What is a fitting Valentine’s gift to give to God? It’s a fair question.
One day Jesus asked Phillip a question, testing him. “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” When the Lord confronted Phillip by asking for a plan to feed a very hungry multitude of 5,000 men besides the women and children, it was not a temptation to sin, but a test; “The Lord already had in mind what He was going to do (John 5:6). The test was calculated to show Philip the very limited extent of his trust in Messiah’s capability. Phillip was one of the first people to confess Jesus as Messiah, and had recommended Nathaniel to Jesus (John 1:43–48). But a plan to feed a hungry multitude? This explored outside the outer edge of Phillip’s grasp of Messiah’s authority.
“Philip answered him, ‘Eight months’ wages would not buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!’” (John 6:7).
At this time Philip’s small faith saw no possibility of a solution coming from the person he had hailed as Messiah. To Philip it was simply and totally a money issue. The only way to get the massive amount of bread needed was to purchase it, and the funds were not in the treasury to “buy bread” on that scale. This explains Philip’s response: “It would take a fortune to begin to do it!” (John 6:7 tlb). How many people have been stopped at this juncture! They cannot see their Lord standing on the other side of their drained savings account; or, as the case often is, beyond their credit card.
“Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, ‘Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?” (John 6:8-9).
Andrew, too, had confessed Jesus as Messiah, but neither did he perceive the capability of Messiah’s power. He was aware, however, of a lad in the crowd with his lunch. Andrew was about to learn Jesus’ unlimited capability to act and how far this small amount of bread and fish would go in the Messiah’s hands.
The Apostle John specifically identified the child’s bread as “barley loaves” (see also vs. 13). Barley was commonly known as the poor man’s bread; wheat was the bread of the wealthy. By saying the youngster’s lunch included barley bread, John was setting the stage to show Jesus is the Bread of Life for ordinary people too. In fact, “the common people heard him gladly” (Mark 12:37).
Amazingly, this hungry lad did what he could; he gave his lunch to Jesus.
“What Can I Give Him?”
Christina Rossetti wrote a poem in 1872 that only appeared after her death. About thirty years later the poem was set to music and titled “A Christmas Carol.” Today, we know it as “In the Bleak Midwinter.”
Rossetti was a devoted follower of Christ who for many years volunteered at the St. Mary Magdalene “house of charity,” a refuge for women coming out of a life of prostitution. In the Victorian Era of her day, economic forces often caused women to eke out a living by selling their bodies. Some of the “women” were only twelve years old. Rossetti’s efforts in offering them Christ’s love, and helping find better jobs for these marginalized women came through in some of her poems.
For instance, this Christmas carol pictures a Savior who entered our world of suffering and brokenness—a world much like “the bleak midwinter” of Rossetti’s native England. “Heaven cannot hold” Jesus, she wrote, “nor earth sustain” Him, and yet “a stable-place” and “a manger full of hay” cradled Him. In light of Christ’s great power and love, Rossetti went on to ask:
“What can I give Him, poor as I am?
[Her answer says there is one thing all of us can give Jesus—no matter who we are:]
If I were a shepherd
I would bring a lamb,
If I were a wise man I would do my part,
Yet what I can I give Him?
Give my heart.”
Think about it: Regardless of your scarred past or your present struggles, Jesus wants one gift from you above all others—the love of your heart. A heart to believe and trust His sovereign power over all problems and circumstances, even a multitude of difficult issues. A heart that loves Jesus enough to permit Him to take your life as it is, lead you into a new future that adopts His values, and ultimately includes eternal life with God in heaven.
Yes, your heart is the best Valentine’s gift you can give to Jesus.