Ho, Ho, Ho, Merry Christmas! Every time I hear that I think about the Salvation Army folks at the doors of the mall or WalMart. I think these folks are so generous with their time and it causes me to wonder about my giving of myself and my resources during this season. I hope that you do, as well.
I read this poem the other night while preparing for a sermon. I thought it captured the art of giving so well that it would be wrong to only share it in a sermon.
Somehow, not only for Christmas,
But all the long year through,
The joy that you give to others,
Is the joy that comes back to you.
And the more you spend in blessing,
The poor and lonely and sad,
The more of your heart’s possessing,
Returns to you glad.
– John Greenleaf Whittier
I sincerely believe that giving isn’t really a matter of finances, it’s a matter of our heart. As a matter of fact, you might want to read this piece of Scripture out loud:
“If you give, you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full measure, pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, and running over. Whatever measure you use in giving — large or small — it will be used to measure what is given back to you.” Luke 6:38
It’s so easy to hang on to what we have and fret over what we do not have. But what if we knew that every gift is not just a blessing, but an art form? What if our mindset went from “I cannot afford to give,” to “I will give something?”
We have heard people say, “You can’t out-give God.” Well, you can’t out-give yourself either. You don’t need to be wealthy to possess a giving heart. Give a smile, offer forgiveness, lend a compassionate ear, extend a helping hand. However you give, God’s promise is tried and tested, and you’ll see the blessings multiplied and returned back to you. That’s so true in this season. Christmas giving is indeed an art form. One that is refined in the hearts of men and women as we simply give – whatever it is – with a heart of gratitude, a mind focused on the things of the Divine, and soul overflowing with compassion.
Hone your skills to give this season – with open hands and a generous spirit.
Now, please don’t misunderstand. Jenny, and I love to give. That’s because we’ve learned something. When we give to God, we are blessed. And although most of our giving goes to the church, we don’t give to a church. We don’t give to the programs of the church. We give our offerings to God alone. In fact, the Bible teaches us to give for our own good and for our own blessing, from a cheerful heart.
Don’t just assume that I’m right. Take a look at what God has to say about the art of giving. I fully believe God wants us to give. Read what the Bible says about giving.
FIRST AND FOREMOST, GOD WANTS US TO GIVE BECAUSE IT SHOWS THAT WE RECOGNIZE HE IS TRULY THE LORD OF OUR LIVES.
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” —James 1:17
Don’t bootleg your own blessing this season. Give thanks with a grateful heart, because when we are grateful for what we have, we always want to give out of the same emotion.