The Christmas story is enveloped in giving. (Does that shock you?)
- The Angels came to “bring good news.” Giving.
- The Wiseman gave gifts to Joseph, Mary and Jesus.
Giving is a distinctive quality of Christmas and a prominent characteristic of God.
“For God so loved the world that He gave…” John 3:16
Giving and love go hand in hand. And God is a giver!
“If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” Matthew 7:11
God is good, there is no evil or guile in Him, and He can only give good gifts to those who ask Him!
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” James 1:17
Every gift from God finds its source in what is good.
Giving is a crucial quality to develop because it’s a transforming activity. Becoming a giver chips away at our human nature, which is instinctively selfish. This may be why Paul said in Acts 20:35, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
Giving transforms the giver as much as the receiver. Giving keeps you from being bound by stuff. It is not wrong to have things or to be on the receiving end of giving, but we become a slave to possessions when “getting” overshadows “giving.”
To take is human.
To give is divine.
In the past, I have personally made excuses on why they can’t give. One common reason people don’t give is they feel that they don’t have enough.
As Jesus and the disciples were in the temple watching people give their tithes and offerings, He commented on a woman who gave two mites.
“43 “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. 44 For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.” Mark 12:43-44
If you wait until you have enough, you’ll never have enough. So start giving from the place where you are.
Another reason we cannot give is that we are living beyond our means, a.k.a. living beyond God’s blessing.
Giving requires discipline. I’ve had to cut out things in my personal budget at times, i.e., cable television, to stay faithful to giving. Giving always produces the best ROI ever!
The goal of giving is to develop a heart of generosity.
1Cast your bread upon the waters, for you will find it after many days. 2Give a portion to seven, or even to eight, for you know not what disaster may happen on earth. Ecclesiastes 11:1-2
King Solomon gives us a critical piece of advice on living and giving. To cast your bread upon the water is an instruction to give away what you have.
Another excuse I’ve used to justify not giving is, “what if the person uses my giving for sinful purposes.”
First, as the benefactor of God’s blessing, you are responsible for stewarding His resources, not for how your generosity is used.
Secondly, the receiver is responsible for what they do with what they’ve been given.
Don’t allow assumptions to keep you from being generous. Be wise but not stingy.
“The generous man will be prosperous, and he who waters will himself be watered.” Proverbs 11:25 (NASB)
Giving has a boomerang effect. And Luke 6 gives insight into what happens when we give!
“38 give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” Luke 6:38
This passage reveals two important facts about giving, whether it’s your time, talents, or finances.
#1 God blesses you so you can be a blessing to others.
#2 You determine the size of God’s blessing in your life.
The gift of Christmas fulfilled God’s promise to send a deliverer, first made in Genesis 3. Christmas celebrates God’s greatest gift to mankind, Jesus Christ! Giving is God’s nature and is a defining characteristic of His followers.
Don’t focus on the size of your giving. Rather, focus on obedience and let generosity be cultivated in your life.
Allow God to create in you or deepen a heart to give. It’s an old cliché, but it is a trustworthy saying, “you can never out-give God.”