“It is more blessed to give than to receive,” writes Dr. Luke in the book of Acts 20:35. He was quoting Jesus, the One who gave us God’s love in extraordinary ways. I like the way The Message paraphrases this quote when it says, “You’re far happier giving than getting.” Of course, many of us are looking to receive. We make Christmas lists to let people know what we want. After all, Santa is coming, and he needs to know! Besides, turn on your television or pick up a magazine and the message is clear. “Buy this” and “get that” so that you can have the best Christmas ever … and a happy life. For those of us who like to shop (yes, some men do enjoy it, but just won’t admit it!), there is a nice buzz that comes over us when we get what we want. Personally, I like eBay. The bidding only adds to the thrill! Unfortunately it is not long before we are looking to buy something else we need!
Maybe we should consider the words of Jesus more carefully. Does he know something that we need to pay attention to? Could his wisdom actually lead us to a happier life? The answer is “Yes” and “Yes!” We are designed by our maker to give. When we do so, we imitate and tap into the very heart of God. The challenge is to re-program our thinking so that giving becomes a way of life. It is fun to shop for others at Christmastime and surprise them with a nice gift. However, it is even better to look for ways to give every day.
Let me challenge you as I will myself. Make these days leading to Christmas an opportunity to test what Jesus said. Look for a way to give to at least one person every day. Don’t lie down to sleep at night until you have given something to someone else. Be intentional and specific and ask God to show you how and to whom to give. You don’t have to spend a lot of money. In fact, often the most precious things, money cannot buy! Be creative and the Lord will guide you and help you. Let it become a journey of faith as you partner with the Savior born in Bethlehem.
Finally, take note of the joy meter in your heart right now, and then again after you establish regular giving each day. Will God’s Word prove true? Will you discover that giving = happiness and spread that same joy to others? That would truly make for a joyful Christmas and a blessed New Year!
By Roger Kruse, OMS Missionary