Since 710 A.D., the Japanese practice an art of wrapping their treasured goods in a cloth known as a furoshiki or tsutsumi. The cloth wrapping can be ornately decorated or a common single colored cloth. What makes the practice different from simply tying your goods in any old cloth is the intentional care that goes into tying the cloth and the overall presentation. Nowadays, the practice of furoshiki has expanded to transporting common goods and even into giving heart felt gifts. Gift giving has become extremely significant to the Japanese culture. When giving gifts, however, the gift itself isn’t the end all be all. Gift giving to them is really is all about the heart. That is why so much time and care is put into the preparation and presentation of their gifts. As children of God, are we being intentional during our service to the Lord and serving Him with care?
In Revelation chapters two and three, the angels are speaking to several early churches on behalf of the Lord. The Lord in the beginning of chapter two addresses the church of Ephesus because they left their service to God and stopped their gift of worship to Him altogether. Revelation 2:4 (ESV) reads, “But I have this against you, that have abandoned the love you had at first.” The beginning of Revelations chapter three, starts off with the Lord talking to the church of Sardis. The latter half Revelation 3:1 says, “I know your works. You have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead.” The church of Sardis had taken great care to have their service to God look like an appealing gift, but truly it meant nothing. At the end of chapter three, the Lord is speaking with the church in Laodicea. Revelations 3:16 says, “So, because you are neither hot nor cold, I will just spit you out of my mouth.” The church of Laodicea was physically doing everything they needed to, but they lacked the zeal for God in their heart. In their gift of service, the Laodiceans had the gift ready to give, but they took no care to make it pleasing to God.
Of all the seven churches in Revelation chapters two and three, God only has praise for the church of Philadelphia. Revelation 3:8 says, “I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. I know that you have little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.” This doesn’t imply that the Philadelphians were perfect people by any means. Yet, they made sure that they followed Christ’s example when He said that everything in our relationship with God hinged on loving the Lord with our entire being and loving our neighbor as ourselves (Mark 12:28-34). Jesus is the pinnacle of giving His entire life as a gift of service to God. Jesus studied, knew, and taught God’s word, He talked to God through prayer many times throughout His life, and He willingly died for mankind’s sins according to God’s plan. Jesus lived His whole life with the intention of giving His entire heart, body, and soul to God. Do you live your life with the intent of giving Him your all?