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Moving Past Stinginess - Wholly Loved - December 8

Moving Past Stinginess

By Jessica Brodie

“If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?” 1 John 3:17

We roamed the aisles of the megastore looking for that perfect gift—one that would fit neatly into our Operation Christmas Child shoebox but not break the bank. One that would suit the gender and age range of the child we’d selected, while reflecting our Christian values (not to mention having a high-cuteness factor).

“This! It’s perfect!” one of my girls said.

It was—until I looked at the price tag. Though I could afford it, I didn’t want to spend that much.

“Find something in this price range,” I said.

She looked crestfallen. We kept hunting, finally found something else, then continued to the next section. Time for toothbrushes, soap, and hair ties.

Twenty minutes and numerous price tags later, what had started out a joy-filled project turned into a chore.

We were browsing the clearance clothing when I heard myself telling them how important it is to do this because this might be the only Christmas present this child gets, and how it’s a great way to show the love of Jesus, and ...

Then I realized: This might be the only gift. The only one.

Yet I was being stingy over sparkly headwraps and how much their “wow” toy cost.

I remembered the reason we were shopping and had picked up the shoebox in the first place. A new spirit of humility and generosity flowed through me.

1 John 3:17-18 says, “If anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.”

May my heart continue to open to the needs of those around me, whatever that looks like.

Jessica Brodie is an award-winning journalist and a member of the Wholly Loved Ministryteam. She’s also an author who currently serves as the editor of the South Carolina United Methodist Advocate, the oldest newspaper in Methodism. She is the author of More Like Jesus: A Devotional Journey (2018) and editor of Stories of Racial Awakening: Narratives on Changed Hearts and Lives of South Carolina United Methodists (2018), both from her newspaper’s Advocate Press. She also writes contemporary women’s fiction, represented by Bob Hostetler of The Steve Laube Agency. Her novel The Memory Garden won the American Christian Fiction Writers’ 2018 Genesis Contest. She has a faith blog at

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