Saturday, December 6, 2014

The Gift of Giving

by Jill Jackson

This time of year many people are thinking about giving to others including family, friends, or those less fortunate. The holidays create quite a buzz of happiness found in the gift of giving, but such is a principle implemented by Christ years ago. Jesus said, "It is more blessed to give than to receive" (Acts 20:35). Despite this principle being at the forefront of our minds right now,with the passing of the holidays many will lose sight of this blessing. Thoughts shift from selfless giving to self-absorbed taking.

Call me. Invite me to your house for dinner. Visit me when I am in the hospital. Bring me food when I am recovering from surgery. Teach my children in Bible class. Send me a letter of encouragement. Make a point to talk to me at church. Include me in your plans.

What you will not hear from the self-absorbed: Who can I call to check on? Who can I invite over for dinner? Who is in the hospital and needs my company? Who can I prepare food for while they are recovering from surgery? When can I teach the children in my congregation? Who can I encourage with an unexpected card? Who can I talk to and make feel welcome at church? Who can I include in my plans?

Consider Paul's encouragement: "So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith" (Galatians 6:10). Sometimes we get busy and fail to do the good we could do, especially to those of the household of faith. But many times, those making complaints like the ones above need to be reminded of a few of biblical truths.

First, we must remember the golden rule. "So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them" (Matthew 7:12). Sometimes we have the expectation that others should be serving us, but they are exempt from serving others. When we are quick to point the finger of accusation at others, with a long list of ways they have failed to do for us, we need to remember there are three fingers pointing back at us. Ask yourself, when is the last time you sent someone a card, invited someone into your home for a meal, or visited someone who was sick. Are we expecting of others what we are unwilling to do ourselves?

Second, we must remember it's not all about me. Certainly we all experience times of strife and hardship, but even in difficult times we must remember it's not all about me. Christianity is about selfless love. Sometimes we have a preoccupation with what others need to be doing for us. We can become very self-absorbed and neglect to follow the example of Christ who came not to be served, but to serve. "For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many" (Matthew 20:28). Repeated examples are given in the New Testament of Christ showing love to others through service. His thoughts and concerns were not about himself, but about others. He hung upon the cross for you and me. He was not thinking
about himself, but of us.

Let others see the beauty of Christ in you through your interest and service to others. "Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully" (2 Corinthians 9:6). Sow bountifully and receive true happiness and blessings bountifully. Let the blessings of giving to others be a gift you focus on throughout the year, and not just for a passing season.

Recommended Reading:

Jason Jackson. Burden Bearing, It's The Law.