Giving and Receiving
It’s that time of year again! Are you bombarded with requests everywhere you go? At the store, in the mail, your child’s school, your family’s Christmas wish lists. It feels so overwhelming, doesn’t it? It makes me NOT want to give anybody, anything. But wait a minute, that is not how or who God wants me to be, so in this season of endless requests for my money and time, how do I get to the place where I am a “cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7). When I stop to remember “it starts with me” and “it’s not about me”, it helps me reframing my attitude.
The Bible has many scriptures about the benefit of giving, not just tithing but giving of our resources, our time and ourselves. Experience has taught me that the very best part of giving is in the receiving of joy that I feel from the act of giving. It’s really just about those everyday act’s of kindness (giving of ourselves) that make me feel the most joyous. By this I mean, holding a door open, taking a cart back to the store for someone else, smiling and saying hello to a stranger, taking the time to stop and talk to my elderly neighbors when I see them, even when I don’t feel like it. You get the idea.
Another way to give which can be very difficult is the act of for”give”ness itself. Is there someone you need to make peace with this holiday season? Maybe yourself? Again, experience has shown me that the gift of freedom we receive in forgiving far outweigh the fear and pain that often go along with the act of forgiving. It’s a hard thing to do, and it oftentimes doesn’t seem fair, but the peace of Christ is by far the best gift that can be received.
Hebrews 13:16 “Don’t forget to do good and to share what you have with those in need, for such sacrifices are very pleasing to God.” In the month of December, AC3 will be providing opportunities for you and your family to put this scripture into action. What a great way to serve our community and “be the light.” It also provides a great opportunity to model for our kids/youth how to be the Church. There is a display board and boxes in the lobby showcasing giving opportunities. It’s easy to assume that “they” will fill the boxes up. I challenge you that “It starts with me.”
You can also sign up to give or receive a food basket during the holiday season on our AC3 church app. Participating in giving activities this season is a great way to remember that compassion starts with each one of us as individuals.
Lastly, I would like to share a favorite passage of mine.
“Take care! Don’t do your good deeds publicly, to be admired, because then you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven. When you give a gift to someone in need, don’t shout about it as the hypocrites do – blowing trumpets in the synagogues and streets to call attention to their acts of charity! I assure you, they have received all the reward they will ever get. But when you give to someone, don’t tell your left hand what your right hand is doing. Give your gifts in secret, and your Father, who knows all secrets, will reward you.” Matthew 6:1-3.
Simply said, do you want your reward to be on earth from man or would you rather wait and receive your reward from God in heaven? I’ll take the latter. This does not mean you shouldn’t put anything in the giving box in the lobby, it just means don’t post a picture on Facebook of you doing it.
Enjoy your holidays AC3 family and remember “It Starts with Me”. (I mean you….I’m talking to you:)