“Tis the season to be . . . . . ?
To be happy? To be sad? To be tired? To be giving? To be expectant? To be regretful? To be receiving? To be fearful? To be anxious? To be generous? This season is a season that not just awakens many feelings and personal “drives,” but it magnifies them. Our personal Christmas histories are a mixed bag of delights and despairs, anticipations and reservations.
Of all the “to be’s” listed above, I am choosing to discuss generosity. After all, for followers of Jesus, eternity hangs on the “gift” offered to the world over 2000 years ago. God choosing to set aside all the privilege and splendor of heaven to be “gift-wrapped” in flesh and humbling himself to visit this planet which had fallen well below his creative intentions. What must He have thought and think today as he looks at this world, His creation, and sees how far it has fallen from what could have been.
At Christmas we turn our attention to giving and receiving, often with little thought of what the original “gift” was to mean and how precious “receiving” something so priceless, so precious, really is. Instead, in our culture, Christmas becomes a frantic “busyness” driven by business, not a time of spiritual focus. We exhaust ourselves worrying over what to buy and can even go into serious debt as the “material” takes the reigns of our hearts away from the “spiritual.”
So, back to generosity. Let’s face it, Christmas is a time of year when we spend, and often we experience hilarious joy in our extravagance. We buy and give beyond reasonable limits. Often the objects of our generosity, as we also do, soon forget the buzz that packages create. That Christmas moment is gone. We look at the tree, absent of presents, and then perhaps gaze at the star that sits on top and it dawns on us that the spirit of Christmas is the Christ, his mission, his kingdom come. Noel, from the Latin word “to be born.” Noel.
As we look into the New Year, can we dare to consider ourselves to be “generous?” Will God look upon us in that way or in some other way? Do we plan to be generous towards Him and His kingdom initiatives? Will we look for opportunities to serve Him with a renewed energy with the talents, time, abilities and passions He has endowed us with? Will we give generously and fearlessly, even sacrificially with eternal purpose so that the world near and far may know Him and experience His salvation? For years now, it is reported nationally that the average “giving” by American church attenders is 2% of their income. It seems a meager amount with such a worthy mission we have been invited into.
“Average” never seems to be a flattering descriptor. It’s sort of a low common denominator. It means being pretty much like everyone else. Whoopee! God has not saved us to be like everyone else and maybe not even like every “average” believer. As a church family at New Life, we are looking ahead with ambitious intentionality to leverage the resources God has provided us so that the world will be different in 2020 than it was in 2019. Being under the sovereign wing of a God who promises to meet our “needs” and who gives back lavishly to those who invest in His kingdom with joy and deliberateness, perhaps before this New Year dawns this would be a good time as a family to discuss how you choose to participate in God’s great campaign.
We all are to hold loosely the borrowed resources God allows us to use while we have breath, whether it be the time, talent or treasure He gifts us with. What could be the result if your family and mine were to create a deliberate strategy to begin employing our resources with God’s kingdom and eternity in mind? For most Christians, this would be quite a challenge. Are you up to it?
Think About It.