And now, brothers, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the saints. And they did not do as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us in keeping with God’s will. So we urged Titus, since he had earlier made a beginning, to bring also to completion this act of grace on your part. But just as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us--see that you also excel in this grace of giving. ~ 2 Corinthians 8:1-7
The sluggard’s craving will be the death of him, because his hands refuse to work. All day long he craves for more, but the righteous give without sparing. ~ Proverbs 21:26
Way back when God blessed the Hebrew patriarch Abraham, God blessed him so that he might be a blessing to all those around him, and to those who would come after him. As believers in Christ and following his lordship, we not only inherit the blessing given to Abraham, but the mission that comes along with it. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control...these harvest fruits of the Spirit of God transforming us from the inside out are not merely a state of being, but a way of living. They are meant to be expressed, a means of spreading the very grace of God so that others may taste of the blessing.
Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of God’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God.
~ 2 Corinthians 9:10-12
When we cultivate a giving heart, God is glorified in us. He delights in giving to us! When we give, we partner in this grace, in this offering of undeserved favor that points to the source of life-joy. And check out the side-effects of this soul protocol:
A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed. ~ Proverbs 11:25
A generous man will himself be blessed, for he shares his food with the poor. ~ Proverbs 22:9
"In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.' " ~ Acts 20:35
More blessed! Isn't that what everyone seems to want? How fascinating that by taking the focus off of ourselves, our deepest longings can be satisfied.
We are accustomed to special days and seasons set aside for gift-giving. But it doesn't have to stop there! Giving from the heart can become a habit. According to the Giver of scripture, it's a good habit to have. Like any habit, it takes practice to get it going. Here are some gift ideas to get you started:
Seriously. Give it a try! :-)