“Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back. ””
*question overheard in every neighbourhood in North America this time of year*
Well, what do you want for Christmas?
The latest gadget? A robot vacuum? Jewelry, perhaps? Clothing or kitchen appliances, perfume, merch from your favourite sports team or band?
You’ll find it advertised, for sure.
Or on Amazon…
We are a continent of ‘give me stuff’. And things were no different in the time of Jesus. (The ‘stuff’ was just lower tech. Think upgraded bbq tools and the latest style in tunics. ‘My head scarf is so 20s!’)
So these words of Jesus would have sounded just as revolutionary and counter-cultural then as they do now.
Wait, what? Give?
But I want this and that and those and –
Yeah. I know.
So do I.
But if we are to walk in the footsteps of Jesus, we need to be givers.
Bold, generous, radical givers.
And while financial giving is crucial – it fulfills God’s mandate to support the oppressed and work for justice for those who have no voice – there are many, many other things we can give.
Do you remember the gifts you were given every Christmas? No. But you remember baking cookies, skating on the pond, and making a snowman with dad! Be present.
You know that feeling when you’ve just done something stupid – and someone is kind and says ‘I’ve done worse!’ That’s grace, y’all. And it sure feels good.
Treating others with dignity elevates us all. And yes, I mean the unruly customer, the belligerent coworker, that bizarre neighbour. Each was created in the image of God, no matter how challenging their behaviours can be.
What’s more profound than being in the wrong, and having someone offer their forgiveness? Or – offering your own. These are gifts that keep on giving.
Love is a powerful and rare commodity. Our world positively aches for it. Acts of service, however simple, touch people where nothing else will.
And look at the promise Jesus offers here.
Give, and you will receive.
If you are stingy with your friendship, your resources, your encouragement, your kindness – you are setting up habits and patterns that will be very hard to break down the road.
The bottom line?
You can’t expect to get what you aren’t first willing to give.
Think about that for a bit.
In this season of getting, be sure you are making plans.
Plans to give big.
Father, You have always been so generous. Because it is Your nature to give freely and bountifully, remind us to give with a generous heart out of the resources You so kindly have supplied. Thank You for the promise of Your favour and blessing as we follow in your footsteps! Amen.