Yesterday was a blessed day, if for no other reason, due to the fact that I believe I completed my Christmas shopping. Due to Amy’s physical limitations this year, we did not get to enjoy Yuletide shopping together which has been our treat for the last fourteen years. We went to the mall only once this Christmas season and I immediately regretted having done so because of the pulsing crowds, long lines and cacophony of voices, Christmas music, crying babies and cash registers. The Internet became my friend immediately thereafter and I was baptised into the Church of Online Christmas Shopping. There should be no further need to go near a mall until the new year pounces upon us. Glancing at our Christmas tree this morning in my warm, cozy house, I stopped to ponder how amazingly blessed we are. God has chosen to remove a lot from the Lyles this year, but He has left us with increased gratitude which is something to always be treasured. We are more thankful than ever before for family, friends, faith and also material blessing. God is so very good. Here’s a quote for all of you who recognize God’s hand of blessing on your lives:
“The bread that is spoiling in your house belongs to the hungry. The shoes that are mildewing under your bed belong to those who have none. The clothes stored away in your trunk belong to those who are naked.” – Basil the Great
The Lord Jesus Christ teaches us that giving away is superior to taking in. His infinite counsel challenges your human instinct to take as He inclines your heart to become a giver. Jesus teaches in another place that, when we give, we should prioritize giving to those who could never give anything back to us. It would seem that He discerns we are better off with empty hands than with fistfulls of something-or-the-other. Here are some things worth considering when you commit to becoming a greater giver.
- Give away your time. You likely have more than you think. Somebody out there could use a call, a visit, a card or an affirmation that they are important to you. Make some time.
- Give away your strength. Do something nice for someone. Not ‘nice’ as in token sweetness, but ‘nice’ as in helpful, sacrificial. Clearly convey to some unsuspecting individual that they are worthy of your service.
- Give away your stuff. This is an incredibly difficult time for many and I’m sure that God would be pleased if you engaged your heart to separate itself from some of your goods. You could buy Christmas gifts for a needy family or pay someone’s electric bill. Some of you might be able to buy a used vehicle for a desperate family. Think sacrificially and…think big if you have been blessed with the ability to do so.
- Give away your love. It is likely that someone reading this has a lingering, unresolved issue with another. They are hurt or mad. You are also. You’ve let it go long enough and have proven why you shouldn’t “put yourself back out there”. Consider that you actually should put yourself back out there. Love them with the love that God shows you in Christ. It’s time for wounds to heal.
There are many other things that you might give away. Lighten your life-freight a little bit and see whether or not your daily stride doesn’t improve. Christianity is not simply an inspired theology. We are Kingdom people and that Kingdom must be revealed in us now. Christmas is a precious time to welcome God to soften your heart, loosen your grip and tighten your commitment to Christ. How many of these Christmases do you have left, anyway? Make sure each one is significant.
…And avoid the malls if at all possible.
Give to the ministry