"No matter where I am, your teachings fill me with songs." - Psalm 119:54 (CEV)

Friday, December 21, 2012

What Does Giving Mean to You?

During finals week, I went out with two good friends to dinner at our favorite restaurant,

Then went back with them to their room,

Where we exchanged Christmas presents.

One of my friends was caught off-guard.

She hadn't bought our presents yet.

She was also very, very excited.

Growing up, she had never celebrated Christmas.

She couldn't wait to tear into our gifts.

I didn't give her much.

Of the two, she's the one I know least.

I wasn't entirely sure what to get her,

Hoped that she'd like what I found.

I will never forget the look on her face,

The expression of pure joy and happiness

To receive our gifts.

It wasn't the first time she'd ever gotten presents,

But it was the first time she'd ever gotten Christmas presents,

And seeing her expression,

Her joy,

Was a much better present than anything money could ever buy.

In our culture, we often give to get,

Give presents to family and friends we know will be giving presents to us,

Put money in the Salvation Army kettle to get rid of our extra change.

Sometimes we give because it's convenient,

Or because we think it's the right thing to do,

Or because it makes us feel good about ourselves.

For a long time, this was how I gave,

But SomeOne's been changing me,

Teaching me new things.
Deuteronomy 15:10
Give generously to him and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to.
Deuteronomy 16:17
Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the LORD your God which He has given you.
Proverbs 21:26
…the righteous gives and does not hold back.
 Matthew 6:3-4
But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.
Mark 12:41-44
And He sat down opposite the treasury, and began observing how the people were putting money into the treasury; and many rich people were putting in large sums. A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which amount to a cent. Calling His disciples to Him, He said to them, “Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the contributors to the treasury; for they all put in out of their surplus, but she, out of her poverty, put in all she owned, all she had to live on.”
Luke 6:30
Give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back.
Philippians 4:15-17
And you yourselves also know, Philippians, that at the first preaching of the gospel, after I departed from Macedonia, no church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving but you alone; for even in Thessalonica you send a gift more than once for my needs. Not that I seek the gift itself, but I seek for the profit which increases to your account.
James 2:15-16
If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that?
 The key behind it all, though, is this:
John 3:16
For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believes in Him wouldn’t perish, but would have eternal life.
When you've been given to like this,

It changes everything.

Suddenly, it's not about you,

Not about what you can get.

Instead, it's about what He's done,

And an insatiable desire to share that gift -

Through giving.

Compassion International is working hard to help children in poverty,

And, this Christmas,

Through their #itsaboutgiving campaign,

You can buy a gift that will go a long way toward helping people in desperate need.

Their goal is to raise $20,000 dollars before December 22nd.  So far they have $532.

(I know.  That's tomorrow.  For more on why I'm posting about this now as opposed to three weeks ago, see this post.)

Please, please, please consider visiting Compassion's Christmas Catalog

And giving whatever you're led to,

Whatever you're able to,

Or even more than you think you're able to, as the churches in Macedonia did.

When we've been given everything,

Should we not also be willing to give everything?

(Harder than it sounds.  I know.  Preaching to myself here.)

Please think about it,

Pray about it,

And let the joy of Christ spill out in love for others,

Whatever that looks like for you.

Acts 20:35

English Standard Version (ESV)
35 In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’

It's About Giving Posts:
     - It's About Giving (Intro)
     - What Does Giving Mean to You?
     - What Does Giving Look Like?
     - Final Assignment

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