Christmas is the season of giving. There’s no doubt about it. In fact, Gallup estimates that American adults will spend about $855 on gifts this year! It is SO much fun to pick out that perfect gift for a friend or family member…PLUS the sales are so irresistible!
Today I got to thinking about the significance of “giving.” What is the true purpose of giving? I see hundreds of wrapped presents every Christmas season—hundreds of dollars spent. However, many of the same gifts end up in giveaway piles a year later. My mind struggles to justify this as I see the number of Operation Christmas Child boxes at some churches dropping. I see church budgets diminishing and longtime ministries coming to an end. I hear of hungry children and millions who have yet to hear the gospel.
Why is this?
Where is the church?
Of course, it is easier to buy tangible gifts for our children than it is to slip that extra check in the offering plate where no one will know or see. Of course, it is easier to ignore that charity with the excuse that “I gave enough already” than it is to put an extra couple hundred in the vacation fund. NONE of those things are bad or wrong. However, I fear that the Christian’s priorities (mine included) have become increasingly selfish and short-sighted when it comes to supporting kingdom efforts.
“Someone else will do it.”
“I need the money for my kid’s college.”
“They got me a gift, I need to get them a better one.”
“My spouse needs this!”
“If I can’t see the ministry happening across the world, how do I know it’s a valuable use of my money?”
These are just a few of the things we say to justify our failure to tithe, support ministries, or give to those less fortunate. But these failures are not as concerning as the HEART behind them.
Those of you who claim CHRIST as SAVIOR have been given the most incredible gift: salvation. There is no price you can put on that. However, it is easily forgotten amidst all the paper and ribbons and holiday cheer.
I must make the disclaimer that there are people reading this article who DO give sacrificially. Every. Day. This message is to remind and encourage you. Your gifts ARE crucial to the kingdom. Even if NO ONE sees your generosity on this earth, you Father in heaven does.
For those of you who don’t give much or at all, analyze your actions, but more importantly, your heart! Why is it difficult to give? Where can you sacrifice to fill the kingdom needs here on earth? I promise you it is worth the effort.
These ponderings arose out of a selfishness I felt it my own heart to “have and hoard” this season instead of “give generously” to God’s kingdom—no matter what that looks like. I challenge you, as I have challenged myself, to pray about a specific need He wants you to give towards this Christmas season. He will make it clear if you ask. Even if it means buying a gift or two less, I think our families will survive without another material thing.
Christmas is a wonderful time of generosity and celebration. But what would it look like if we diverted that energy to kingdom endeavors instead of the ones that will pass along with the season?