Giving

The Gift

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“For who has ever given to God, that God should repay them? For from Him and through Him and for Him are all things. To Him be glory forever! Amen.” (Romans 11:35-36)

 

Photo Credit: Free photo: Christmas, Candles, Bill – Free Image on Pixabay – 1522176

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The Ultimate Gift-giver

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God is the ultimate gift-giver. When we give to Him, we are only returning what belongs to Him. When we give to others, we demonstrate God’s sacrificial heart. So let us gratefully receive the abundance He has given! And let us humbly give our lives to Him, knowing that all we have has first been given to us.

 

Photo Credit: Christmas Present | mac9416 | Flickr

In Need of Nothing

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God has given us life and light. HE has given us all of creation, and every good thing to enjoy. In Christ Jesus, He has given us abundant life here on earth and the hope of eternal life in His presence. What do we have that He did not give?

 

Photo Credit: Free photo: Balls, Christmas, Xmas, Holiday – Free Image on …

The Gift We Can Never Repay

Blog_ChristmasGiftsChristmas is a time of giving. As God gave the gift of His Son to us, so we give gifts to one another. The blessing of a gift is that it comes without cost to us. While there may have been great cost to the person presenting the gift, the gift is free to the one receiving it.

Too often we allow Christmas to become a contest in gift-giving. We want to see who can give the most costly or creative of gifts. If we receive a gift from someone, we feel obligated to give one in return—even if we had never initially intended to present a gift to them. A sense of guilt or shame comes upon the one who has nothing to give in return for a gift they’ve received.

God, unlike man, has given a gift that can never be repaid. Many times, we think that we can out-give God: that our earthly offerings can somehow surpass His offering to us. Even if God were never to give us more than salvation, it would be impossible for us to repay Him—for everything we have comes from Him. It’s like a child asking her Father for money to buy him a gift: truly, the child has sacrificed nothing to buy the gift. Her resources for her father’s gift came first from her father.

God has given us life and light. HE has given us all creation, and every good thing to enjoy. In Christ Jesus, He has given us abundant life here on earth and the hope of eternal life in His presence. What do we have that He did not give?

Our attempts to repay the Lord are an exercise in futility, because apart from Him we are bankrupt. He is worthy and deserving of our praise and thanksgiving: of our lives, and we give these gifts in humble recognition that He is the ultimate gift-giver. He is the source from whom we derive our being. When we give to Him, we are only returning what belongs to Him. When we give to others, we demonstrate God’s sacrificial heart. So let us gratefully receive the abundance He has given! And let us humbly give our lives to Him, knowing that all we have has first been given to us.

“For who has ever given to God, that God should repay them? For from Him and through Him and for Him are all things. To Him be glory forever! Amen.” (Romans 11:35-36)

Barefoot on Sunday Morning

Blog_BarefootHe came barefoot to church every Sunday morning. Unaffected by the questioning glances, he stood quietly in his ragged clothing. Emma was drawn to him, and she determined to find out why.

When service ended, Emma hurried out the doors and waited until she spotted his bare feet amidst the flood of Sunday shoes. Head down and hands in pockets, he walked toward the alley. She followed.

“Excuse me. I have something to give you.” She held out a small envelope.

He looked up, brows furrowed above his warm brown eyes.

“This is for you…so you can have some shoes to wear to church on Sundays.”

His lips curved into a smile. “You’re very kind. But, I don’t go to church on Sundays.”

Emma tilted her head and looked from him to the building and back.

“I don’t believe we’ve met. Name’s Joshua.” He held out his rugged hand.

“I’m Emma. But…I’ve seen you in church. Every Sunday.”

“Oh, the building? Yes. But if you want to see my church, follow me.”

He proceeded down the alley, and Emma followed until they came to a series of row houses surrounding a small, dusty playing field where children ran barefoot.

Joshua turned to her. “Meet me here tomorrow.”

And she did. Each day that week, Emma came to the field and watched as Joshua delivered shoes to different families. He’d spend the day making shoes and the evening passing them out. By the end of the week, many of the children were wearing brand new shoes.

Emma watched as they played. “I don’t understand. Why…”

He smiled gently as the children ran happily across the field. “I like to give all I have, and to remember all I have to be grateful for.”

The next Sunday, Emma saw one of the families from the row houses walking in to church. The mother was wearing the Sunday shoes Emma had given her; the father and their boy were wearing the shoes Joshua had given them. Emma smiled, savoring the feeling of the cold floor beneath her bare feet.

Photo Credit: File:Barefoot on red dirt.jpg – Wikimedia Commons

Precious Things

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Nothing this side of heaven is permanent. It’s in vain that we cling to that which is destined to fade away. What’s most precious to us gains far greater value when given away.

Source: Hold on Loosely

Photo Credit: Flower and open hands | Flickr – Photo Sharing! by einstraus

Hold on Loosely

Blog_HandsLettingGoI keep thinking about that lost little boy I crossed paths with last week. My heart feels heavy to think he was lost to begin with, but also grateful God orchestrated everything so perfectly for him to be found before anything horrible could happen. And at peace, now, to know he’s safe with his family.

The most powerful memory of that day is of his mother embracing him with all her might, tears running down her cheeks in relief. The other is of my kids, following him to the door, their favorite toys in hand, insisting the little boy take them home. My son held a racecar track about as big as him in his chubby little hands and held it out to the boy, “Here! You need this at your house.”

On witnessing this gesture, my first thought was, “No, that’s your favorite toy! You can’t give it away.” But the beauty of it all quickly erased that idea. In their desire to comfort the boy, my children were offering their very best, and without hesitation. Isn’t that how giving should be?

My son was holding so loosely to his toy that it nearly broke apart in his hands. And that’s how we should hold to everything we own…loosely. Nothing this side of heaven is permanent. It’s in vain that we cling to that which is destined to fade away. What’s most precious to us gains far greater value when given away.

Children somehow grasp these truths more readily than those of us who’ve been around for a while, though we should know better. We’ve been around long enough to see just how temporary things are. So why do we hold on tightly to things that don’t last?

Maybe we’ve come to believe that these things give us significance, instead of knowing these things only become significant when we let go of them.

When my children willingly sacrificed their best toys to comfort their new friend, they created a memory more precious than anything we own. I’ll never forget the purity and innocence of their generosity. It inspires me to hold everything with an open hand, knowing it was never mine to keep.

“The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.” (1 John 2:17)

Photo Credit: Hands | Flickr – Photo Sharing! Hands | by Moyan_Brenn