I am greedy. I love to get gifts and I really stink at giving gifts. I am not the only one in my family with this problem; however, I am the only one who is an adult. Ouch.
You expect for children to have difficulty with selfishness and some greed. All you have to do is examine a few Christmas lists to get a good idea of what I mean. But, they are innocent. They do not understad how the national economy and supply and demand make it very difficult for Santa to deliver scuba gear for the family pet dog and cat. They think big. Adults think big too but we have no excuses for our bad attitudes and greed. We should know better.
This Christmas I spent time thinking about some examples from scripture about giving.
The Rich Young Man
The young man said to Him, “All these things I have kept; what am I still lacking?”Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”But when the young man heard this statement, he went away grieving; for he was one who owned much property. Matthew 19:20-22
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.” Mark 12:41-44
Ananias & Sapphira
But a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property, and kept back some of the price for himself, with his wife’s full knowledge, and bringing a portion of it, he laid it at the apostles’ feet. But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back some of the price of the land? “While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not under your control? Why is it that you have conceived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.” Acts 5:1-4
What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him? 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? Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself. James 2:14-17
Forgive me for the over simplification. So much more can be learned from these scriptures. For now, what strikes me from these verses are refusing to give up what is mine, giving out of my surplus, giving to get gifts (in this case fame), and ignoring the immediate needs around me. Truth hurts.
Well, the past is gone. Thank God for His Son’s shed blood. Time to move forward making some changes. Here are my suggestions.
- Give your things away. I like them, maybe someone else will too.
- Don’t buy junk. Give things away you would want or even need for yourself and don’t have.
- Give in secret. God said he will reward this kind of giving. Even if you never receive any physical reward, the spiritual reward is emmense.
- Don’t ignore the people around you. Neighbors, coworkers, people you pass on the street.
I know I can do better. I am looking forward to it. God bless.