Monday, November 21, 2016

Seasonal Giving or Seasonal Getting?

Anyone who wants to know what God means by the word "give", and how important that is to Him, can find that answer in her/his Bible. Here is an online Bible's cover to cover list that includes over 1,500 words using the letters "giv", which includes give, giving, giveth, given, giver, and probably numerous other variations pertaining to the concept of giving. To be honest, though I have read the Bible through, I have not read that specific list of 1,548 words. Obviously, the concept of giving is important to God, but, do we know what giving really is?

With all the frantic buying and selling of a myriad of goods and services, is 'seasonal giving' really giving, or not? Just because we buy things and pass them along to someone else does not necessarily mean that we are giving gifts. Is the practice of developing a wishful recipient "gift list" really in the spirit of giving, or is it in the spirit of asking and expecting to receive for having asked? In Matthew 7 and Luke 11, Jesus speaks of asking, giving, and receiving, in relation to real life needs, not in terms of self-indulgence.

As potential givers, are we asking ourselves honestly what other people really need, and what is best for them? Or, as potential recipients, are we asking for things we really need, or for more stuff? Are we asking ourselves whether our superficial wants or urges might better be satisfied by directing our efforts and desires toward fulfilling the real and urgent needs of those who do not have the bounty that we have?

For many years, I have not made "Christmas" or "birthday" lists. Oh, my flesh is still my flesh, and I can think of things that I may desire, in fleshly terms, but for me to ask for those things seems vain and self-centered, especially at a time when we are supposed to be celebrating God's purest Gift to us, that Gift for which we did not ask. Therefore, I choose to leave gifting to the giver’s discretion, since Christmas and giving are not about what I want, but about what the giver wants to offer/give as a gift. It is NOT about me being worthy of a gift for I was not nor ever can be worthy of God's greatest Gift, yet He gave Himself, in Christ, for my salvation.

If something is gifted, in the modern sense, in some sort of prearranged negotiation or 'wish list', is that really a gift? I have been repeatedly drawn to that question, as a seasonal conundrum, for God, in Christ, offered himself as our Redeemer, before He ever created the world or us. I bless God for His perfect example of gifting, and His call to us to receive that which we neither asked for nor deserved, and I have to admit that I’m far from being a holy giver as He is.

Want a reality check and a test of godly character during the 'holiday seasons' or your birthday? Join me in asking yourself, Am I willing to receive as true gifts and in true gratitude (without me soliciting specific items or services), anything and everything that others might offer to give to me? If I cannot accept what others might offer to freely give me then I need to ask myself why I am not willing to receive in truth, instead of being self-ish. Self-ishness may have a list, but it doesn't need one to trouble our spirits. Let's put aside self, replace self with thanksgiving to God. Let's be truthful givers, sharing God's bounty, instead of being acquisitive. If we spent more time and effort in thankful giving we would be far less concerned with 'getting'; far more at peace with ourselves, with God, and with others. God bless you!

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