Upside Down Christmas – Is Giving Better Than Receiving?
“It is more blessed to give rather than receive?” You’ve got to be kidding! What kind of a statement is that? That’s ridiculous! Of course, it’s more awesome to receive than it is to give – that’s what we’ve been taught all our lives. That’s what makes us feel good isn’t it; getting more things?
Many often wonder how giving could be better than receiving; but just because they don’t understand it doesn’t mean that it isn’t true. As crazy as it may sound to some, that statement is true. We must acknowledge it to be true because it comes from Truth. Acts 20:35 states, “…You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” (NLT)
Giving is kind of like eating vegetables. At first, I didn’t want them. Once I was taught to eat them, I eventually grew to like them. Then, I discovered that I actually really liked them. I realized that eating them made me feel better. I know that I am healthier now because of them – unlike my previous diet of burgers only.
You see, when I spend my life getting, I never seem able to satisfy that hunger. No matter how much I get, I want more and more… the bigger the better. My appetite becomes insatiable! The problem is the more things I have – the more I need to worry about things getting lost, stolen or broken and I end up spending much of my time trying to protect my acquisitions.
On the other hand, when I risk learning the art of giving, I end up doing something that can’t be taken away from me. Sharing with others is free of baggage, warrantees, and contracts.
Giving to others is really an opportunity to do something for Jesus. He even said when we do things for people in need (He called them the “least of these” in Matthew 25:40) we are really doing it for Him. This kind of giving should excite us because we have the opportunity to help someone in Jesus’ name and for His glory alone. When I give like that, no one can take the blessing away. Whether the recipients express appreciation for my gifts or not is irrelevant, if I’m doing it for the right reasons.
This is a difficult lesson to learn because our culture doesn’t teach it. That is why it is so important for parents to instill this principle in the lives of their children. Children that are taught give to others as an act of worship to Christ receive a great gift for life. As they grow up, they will not be victimized by marketers and advertisers; since they have been taught the great life lesson of learning to be content with what they have been given (Philippians 4:11).
Imagine what Christmas would be like this year if our children were more excited about giving rather than getting. As you and your family focus on Christ’s birthday celebration, you have the opportunity to turn Christmas upside down. Start by scheduling a family meeting early in December. As a family, select the target for your giving. It could be a widow in your church, a single parent family in your neighborhood, or a charity of your choice (see below for a suggested list.) Then, get excited about giving to Jesus through your chosen target this Christmas.
If you’ve spent a lifetime believing that it is better to get gifts rather than give gifts, this Christmas season is a great time to take this faith step. Remember the vegetables? If you haven’t eaten them in a long time, asparagus will take some getting used to; but once you experience the health benefits, you see the value they have in enriching your life.
When it comes to this year’s Christmas, it’s time to teach our children the joy of another kind of healthy consumption – the joy of giving. It is a blessing that no one can take away, but it is a hunger and thirst that must be taught.