Everyone thinks about giving during the Christmas season, but everyone also says, “Why can’t we experience Christmas all year long?” Is this simply a noble thought, of is it possible for us to actually give throughout the year? I am a realist — I know that most of us can have the best of intentions, but will not follow through without the means to do so or a plan to follow.
I am wondering, therefore, if we would do a better job of celebrating Christmas all year long if we used God as our model. Stated differently, what if we could learn to give like He gives? Doing so must be possible, or else God would not have such high expectations of His children.
“Joe”, you may be thinking, “where do you get off presuming you know God’s ways?”
Good question. There are volumes I don’t know about God, so I will trust His word to show a few of the ways He gives.
God gives sacrificially.
John 3:16 “For God loved the world so much that He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” While we cannot fathom the depth of God’s sacrificial gift, we can nevertheless give sacrificially. How? By giving gifts of time: a commodity we all have the same amount of. Consider:
- A homemade gift. Whatever your skill level and whatever the gift, it will take some of your time.
- A service. Whether it be baby sitting for new parents or yard work for a senior citizen, print out a nice coupon for that service. Then, follow up to make sure the recipient actually gets the service you offered.
- Visit. Do you know a widow or widower who is starved for a conversation or a hug? I know. You don’t have the time. That is the point. We are talking sacrifice.
God personalizes each gift.
Rom 12:6 “In His grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well….”
This one, for me, is tough. I am not copping out; simply stating that empathy is not my strong suit. My wife, on the other hand, has the ability to look inside other people, perceive what makes them tick, and purchase (or make) the exactly perfect gift that aligns with who that person is. She gives like God gives. I am working on it.
God gives gifts which meet emotional and spiritual needs.
Jud 1:2 “May God give you more and more mercy, peace, and love.”
So how do we give such gifts? Let me ask:
- What relationships in your life are strained or broken?
- Whom do you need to forgive?
- Whom do you need to ask forgiveness from?
The best gift you can give some people in your life is to offer reconciliation. Of course there are no guarantees that your offer will be accepted, but you won’t know until you try. God fully knew that most of us would reject his offer of reconciliation with Him, but He makes it anyway. Give it a try.
God gives out of love.
Rom 5:8 “But God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.”
If we are to give God’s way, we need an attitude check. Giving from a sense of obligation or duty is not love. If you can’t muster up love for your recipients, ask God to give you His love for them. He will gladly oblige you.
God gives unexpectedly…and without fanfare.
Psa 68:6 “God places the lonely in families; He sets the prisoners free and gives them joy. But He makes the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.”
Think outside the box. Consider:
- A $100 tip for your waiter or waitress.
- Giving your second car (or third car) to a single mom who can use it more than you do.
- Offering to pay a struggling student’s tuition costs or book fees.
- Paying the adoption fees for a couple who aspire to adopt.
God gives consistently.
Psa 42:8 “But each day the LORD pours His unfailing love upon me, and through each night I sing His songs, praying to God who gives me life.”
It is a cliché that we should be generous all year long; not simply at Christmas time. If we give God’s way, we will be intentional about our giving throughout the year.
- Keep a ready “bless fund” by setting aside money each month or each payday for the sole purpose of blessing others. We use a “bless envelope” as part of our envelope system so we can be ready to meet other’s needs as they arise.
In conclusion, I readily admit that this list is far from adequate. God gives in infinite ways that will not fit on this post or in all of the books in this world. Hopefully, the few ways I share here will inspire you to give a bit more like He does.
Readers: What have I left out? What other ways does God give?