December 16, 2013
The Giving Gift
"They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life." 1 Timothy 6:18-19 (ESV)
It was time to decorate for Christmas. As I set up my new artificial tree, I pondered what to do with the old one. It still had lots of life in it and rather than donating it to an organization, our family wanted to add a personal touch and show love to a specific family.
We wanted to put into action what we're told to do in 1 Timothy 6:18-19, "They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life." (ESV)
When I went to my volunteer job at the domestic violence shelter the next week, I asked the manager for a suggestion. "I'd like to donate our Christmas tree to a mom who has just completed the shelter's program and moved into her own home," I explained. The manager gave me a woman's name, and my husband Barry and I made plans with her for delivery.
On the night we were to meet Robin* and her children, Tasha* and Nathan*, Barry and I loaded the car with anticipation. We drove to her neighborhood and hauled the tree and bags of lights onto the porch. Before we could fully knock on the door, it was flung open to reveal the twinkling eyes of excited children.
"I didn't expect a big tree!" Robin exclaimed. "I just thought it would be a little one to set on the table!"
Tasha and Nathan literally danced around the room as Barry set their tree up and showed them how to put lights on it for the first time. While they decorated, Robin told me about her hopes and dreams for a safe future for her and the kids.
As we drove away, my husband and I reflected on this truth; it truly is more blessed to give than to receive. It's a glimpse of God's image in each of us. We are created by a Father who delights in giving to His children.
That night, we didn't just give a Christmas tree and some lights. We shared an evening of friendship, laughter, and joy. And gave the gift of time. We brought the love that only Jesus can give us for those we don't know.
The Christmas season is a time we focus on giving gifts and doing good to others, but I want to emulate God's giving and goodness all year long. That starts by focusing on the way He gives. It's an overflow of His character and an example of how He calls us to share what we have with others.
As you're running errands, look to see who you can bless with a kind word or a cup of coffee. As you're putting up your decorations, think about whose home you could bring some festivity to. And as you pause during your day, remember who you can give the gift of prayer and encouragement to. Let's all develop our giving gift by giving more like our Father and by being a blessing to others!
Lord God, You are my example for how to give good gifts. Please give me Your heart to be generous and a blessing to others. Help me be mindful of the receiver and to give carefully to ensure my gift is a blessing. In Jesus' precious Name, Amen.
Visit Amy Carroll's blog for some practical tips and creative ideas for giving good gifts to those who need it this holiday season.
The gift of God's Word and devotions by women living in the trenches alongside you is always the perfect gift. Order a copy of the NIV Real-Life Devotional Bible for Women for a friend or family member by clicking here.
Reflect and Respond:
What do you have that you could share this Christmas season?
What steps do you need to take before you give to make sure the gift is a blessing?
Matthew 7:11, "If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!" (NIV)
2 Corinthians 8:7 "But just as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in the love we have kindled in you—see that you also excel in this grace of giving." (NIV)
*The names are fictitious in order to protect the safety of our friend and her children.
© 2013 by Amy Carroll. All rights reserved.
Originally published Monday, 16 December 2013.