White Elephant Gift


When it comes to building God’s kingdom, I wonder how many of us approach it like we’re giving a white elephant gift instead of giving our very best gift to the One we dearly love?

As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. -- 1 Peter 4:10-11 (ESV)


Have you ever gone to a Christmas party where you were supposed to bring a white elephant gift? The goal is to give a wonky or silly gift—pink flamingo boxer shorts, fluorescent socks, exploding golf balls—to some unsuspecting soul in hopes of a good laugh. A white elephant gift is a second-rate gift. An outcast gift. A thrift store reject. Truth be told, white elephant gifts are usually junk. 

My wife, Jan, and I have four children and fifteen grandchildren, and we would never give them a white elephant gift for Christmas. We only want to give them the very best. In the same way, God only wants to give us, His children, the very best. In fact, He gave us the most extravagant and precious gift He had—His son, Jesus Christ. 

When it comes to building God’s kingdom, I wonder how many of us approach it like we’re giving a white elephant gift instead of giving our very best gift to the One we dearly love?

God is a good Father and established the pattern for giving and building His kingdom when He gave His first and best. Jesus was God’s firstfruit gift. Allow me to explain what I mean by the term “firstfruit.” God has called us not only to give but to give the first of our increase, and He modeled it by giving us Jesus. Solomon wrote in Proverbs 3:9–10, “Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine.” We have an amazing promise from God that when we bring Him the first of our increase, we will be blessed.

The first and best gift we can give to build the kingdom is in the form of our tithe. Of course, we don’t just do it to get a blessing. We bring the first and the best to reflect our love for God and to build His kingdom.

What kind of gift are you bringing to the Lord? Is it your first and best gift or is it a white elephant gift? Make a commitment to express your love to God and build His kingdom by giving Him your very best every day. 


Lord, thank You for giving us Your very best gift. Thank You for the righteousness, redemption, and relationship we have in You. Help us to give our first and best as a reflection of our love and our commitment to build Your kingdom.

For Further Study

  • Malachi 3:10Matthew 7:11Luke 16:11Genesis 4:3–5

-- Tom Lane

Taken from Created to Be, a Gateway devotion.

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