‘Tis the season for giving. In Acts (20:35) we are told that Yeshua said it is better to give than to receive, and we also are told in 2 Corinthians (9:6-7) that God loves a cheerful giver. So, it is pretty clear that we should give generously and cheerfully when we give to others.
Being a generous giver means that we give for the love of giving, and for the hope that what we give will help, edify and please the receiver.
The world, however, is not a generous giver- the world teaches us that what we give should be considered as a sampling of what the other person should, sooner or later, give us back. Maybe that’s why so many give something they want for themselves becasue they hope the receiver will “get the hint”?
On the other hand, that doesn’t explain why fruit cakes get passed around like a hot potato.
What the world teaches us about giving is that when we receive something we need to make sure we give back something of equal or better value. The world teaches us to receive a gift wrapped with a sense of obligation. It is never “cheerful” if you give something with the expectation that you will receive something back. That is not giving- that is called “investing”. You invest some money to get more money back, and you invest some time to receive a benefit greater than the value of the time you invested. However, it is wrong to give a gift in order to receive something similar or better at some later date. If you do, then you are not a cheerful giver: what you are is a sinful, selfish and manipulative louse.
“Hey!! Ease up, Steve!”
Sorry if you feel a little offended, but like it or not, that’s the truth; if it hits home then you need to think about what Yeshua said regarding giving. He should know. After all, He gave His life willingly so that you could have a chance to live with God, eternally. He doesn’t expect you to give your life to Him in exchange out of obligation, but He hopes you do. And not out of obligation, but out of thankfulness and as an opportunity to allow what He did to become useful in your life. He wants you to accept His sacrificice, His gift to you, for your sake and not for His.
Here’s the really hard part for humans, who (as I say above) have been taught by the world that when you receive something you owe something back to the giver: it is very hard for us to receive as generously as we give.
When you receive a gift that you think is disproportionate to your gift, do you feel “guilty”? Do you feel that you did not perform as you should have? Even if the gift you gave is appropriate, useful and appreciated? If you feel this way, then you are too worried about the world’s view and not about God’s view. You need to “give” the other person gifting you the true joy of giving. You need to “give” the other person the joy that you feel when you give with no expectation of return. You need to accept the gift with the same joy you feel when you give a gift, and not feel any obligation to return anything.
If the other person is upset that you didn’t give proportionate to their gift, or that you didn’t bring them anything at all, then that’s their problem. And if you have been giving gifts to a friend and their children at holiday times and they always have an excuse for not giving you anything, then give them one more gift: give them the guilt-free gift of telling them you don’t give to receive, you give to give and that the only one you want to impress is God by cheerfully sharing the blessings He has given to you with those you care for.
God wants us to share that which He has provided for us. If you have more than someone else has, give them some of what you have that they can use. Give it freely, give it cheerfully, and give it without expectation of receipt. If you give to others without any desire to receive back, you will receive something- you will receive blessings from the Lord.
And let me tell you something- what the Lord will bless you with won’t be found at Macy’s, can’t be ordered from E-Bay, and will never be available on Amazon. What the Lord will bless you with will be peace of spirit, joy of giving, love of your fellow-man (and woman), and rewards in heaven.
That’s a lot better than free shipping!