December 23, 2014
Greed vs. Joyful Giving
2 Corinthians 9:7 (NCV) “Each one should give as you have decided in your heart to give. You should not be sad when you give, and you should not give because you feel forced to give. God loves the person who gives happily.’
Friend to Friend
We make a living by what we get out of life, but we make a life by what we give … and how we give it. I am convinced God loves to see us give for no other reason than the joy of giving.
When our children were in middle school, we owned what I affectionately called a “Mini-Gym.” It was actually a set of bar bells, a weight lifting bench, and a few free weights. Both Jered and Danna loved their “gym” and used it almost every day.
When Christmas rolled around, we learned that two of their good friends, Jeff and Jeremy, were not going to have much of a Christmas because their dad had lost his job. Jered came up with a plan.
“Mom,” he said, “Danna and I have talked about it. We think that Jeff and Jeremy would love to have a gym like ours, but we don’t want them to know we gave it to them because they might be embarrassed. What do you think?”
I thought I was in the presence of two joyful givers, and quickly joined them in their plan.
A few days before Christmas, Jered and I took the gym apart and loaded it in our car. Danna found a huge red bow and made a sign that read, “Merry Christmas!” We blew up a bunch of balloons and dug out some Christmas lights.
Sneaky? Oh, we were the epitome of sneakiness! We enlisted the help of a neighbor who had a key to our friend’s house. Her job was to let us know when our friends left and then unlock the back door so we could complete our mission. We parked down the street until the neighbor called, giggling, to let us know the coast was clear.
Once we were inside, we raced to assemble the gym, tie the balloons, and tape the lights to the front door. We then high-tailed it home as if the FBI was hot on our trail!
The neighbor called with a final mission report. Minutes after the boys and their mom returned, she heard shouting and “whooping and hollering.”
Mission accomplished! And the joy of that Christmas still lingers today.
Greed doesn’t hold a candle to joyful giving.
Greed is never satisfied and never at rest. There is always something more to be gained and someone else to outdo.
Greed promotes motives that are self-serving, not God-honoring.
Greed loves a prideful heart. Oh yes, I am familiar with this one. My pride is at stake, so I give to impress others. People are watching, so I give to gain their approval.
Greed cooks up a batch of fear and guilt, spreads it across our lives, and we give, hoping to buy God's forgiveness from our sin. How foolish! That gift has already been given.
God is much more interested in our motive for giving than in the gift itself. If that motive is tainted with greed of any kind, the gift simply does not count. This year, before you give, ask yourself, “What’s in it for me?” If the answer is “nothing,” then go ahead and give the gift.
Be a joyful giver.
Father, You have given me so much. Thank You for the blessings in my life. Thank You for meeting my every need. Please help me give with a joyful heart. I want You to be pleased and honored by the gifts I give this Christmas.
In Jesus’ name,
Now it’s Your Turn
Read Proverbs 11:24-25 “Some people give much but get back even more. Others don’t give what they should and end up poor. Whoever gives to others will get richer; those who help others will themselves be helped.”
What truths about giving do you see in these verses?
How can you apply those truths to the gifts you give this Christmas?
Have you considered the fact that your gift may very well be the answer to someone’s prayer?
More from the Girlfriends
"I am flat broke and Christmas is just around the corner!" Do those words sound familiar? Don't let gift giving become a chore instead of a joy. In this message, Giving the Perfect Gift, you will discover how to give ten wonderful gifts without spending a penny! Check it out … and be sure to connect with Mary through email or on Facebook.
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