Giving Season

The holiday season is upon us. Let the decorating, baking, list making, shopping, wrapping, hiding, cooking, eating, and singing begin! Sounds like fun, right? But, why do we do it? Because everyone does it? Because we have always done it? Because we like to receive gifts? The answer is probably yes to all three. But the best reason is because we like to give!

The Bible tells us that we are made in God’s image. Genesis 1:26: “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness . . .” This means that each one of us has some part of God’s characteristics. One of those characteristics is giving. Our God is a giving God. James 1:17: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” This is why we like to give––because God created us with giving hearts.

Now, just because we have giving hearts does not mean we always practice giving. It means that when we do give (in the right way) it makes us happy in our hearts. 2 Corinthians 9:7: “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.” The Greek word used here for “cheerful” means “hilarious.” Have you ever given a gift that made you feel “hilarious”? If not, you are missing a great experience.

When we think of giving, we usually think of putting money in the contribution plate at church, or giving a gift to a friend or family member. This kind of giving is good and makes us happy. But the Bible shows us examples of several different kinds of giving. Let’s look at some of them and see if we can get an idea of how we can be more giving in our lives.

Matthew 25:35-40: “For I [Jesus] was hungry, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me . . . And the King [Jesus] shall answer and say unto them, ‘Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.’” Why not organize a “food basket” party for you and your friends? How about going through your closet and taking some of your clothes that don’t fit anymore to a thrift store? Are there any new kids at school who need a friend? You don’t have to be best friends with people just because they are new, but at least make the effort to find out if you have any common interests, and to make them feel welcomed. Don’t forget the elderly. They are always appreciative of a visit, even if it’s just a short one.

Luke 10:35: “But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, ‘Take care of him; and whatsoever, thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.’” Being a “Good Samaritan” is something Jesus taught, but in today’s world it can be dangerous. Here are some “safe” ways you can help someone in trouble: 1) Call for help. 2) Take a First Aid, Rescue or CPR class 3) Carry a First Aid kit in your car––if you can’t use it, someone else at the scene of an accident may be able to. 4) Give blood (if you’re over 18). 5) Donate your hair to an organization that makes wigs for cancer patients.

Luke 21:1: “And he [Jesus] looked up, and saw the rich men casting their gifts into the treasury. And he saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites. And he said, ‘Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all: For all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury [poverty] hath cast in all the living that she had.’” The widow who gave two mites was blessed more than the rich who gave more, because she gave all she had, and the rich only gave a tiny portion of their wealth. The widow’s giving was a true sacrifice, as was David’s in 2 Samuel 24:24. Jesus is trying to teach us that we don’t have to give a large amount to the church to be pleasing to God or to receive the blessings that come from giving. This widow knew the truth about giving––that God will provide for a cheerful giver in a way that will eventually allow them to give more! As you grow and enter into the working world, make giving to the church first on your list of priorities. You will never regret it.

Dear God,
Help us to look for ways that we can be more giving and extend the giving season to include the whole year. Give us the selfless spirit that puts others’ needs ahead of our own. Let us discover the joy of being a cheerful giver. Increase our faith in your promise to take care of all our needs if we are obedient to your Word.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.

By Cindy Morgan

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