Giving - What Does It Really Mean?

On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. Matthew 2:11

Okay, okay, we've heard it over and over again. But maybe the subject of giving is one that we need reminders over and over again in order to get it right. Giving doesn't necessarily mean buying out the mall and running up a huge balance on your credit cards. Granted, the Magi gave gold, incense and myrrh, some of the most valuable gifts possible at that time. But those guys could afford it! They wouldn't still be paying off their Visa bill when next Christmas rolls around!

So why do you and I frantically buy and buy and buy at Christmas? Because we want to give and give and give... because we love these people, and we want to show it. True. And there's nothing wrong with giving brightly wrapped packages full of wonderful things at Christmas - or at any other time of the year.

But if we truly love, if we truly want to illustrate that love, instead of following the example of the Magi, we'll follow the example of our Lord - and give of ourselves. For instance, we can give our time - probably one of the most valuable non-tangible commodities today. How much time do you spend talking with (not at - with) your children? How much time do you spend doing little things to make life easier for those around you? How much time do you spend serving the Lord in real ways? How much time do you devote to putting others first in a real way? If you fall short in any of these areas, commit right now to increase that time at least 100% every day in the coming year.

There are other kinds of giving - like giving in. In these days of assertiveness training, why not go against the flow and let the other person win once in a while? Compromise with your child on an issue that has been a war zone for months. Let your co-worker win an argument for a change. Give the gift of a peaceful atmosphere by giving in.

Give of your talents. Good with a hammer? Give that single woman a hand with some repairs around her house. Good with a needle and thread? Help that single guy with button replacement and seams that have come loose. Good with art? Offer to help out with church publications. Got a little extra time? Volunteer at church or at one of the many ministries around town that can always use another pair of hands. And how many times have you hugged your kids today?

Before you head for the mall to pick up those last minute packages, take a few moments to look at the level of giving in your life every day. How much of you do you really give? Commit today to follow our Lord's example in giving, and give yourself to others every day.

© Bonnie Ricks, Newsong Ministries

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