Everyone wants a piece of the gift giving season, and are you searching for the perfect gift? You may not know what to give those who are closest to you, and yet you have a unique opportunity. God’s amazing gift of life changing eternal grace is very poorly imitated by our efforts to give others a gift for Christmas. But, you can certainly step up your gifts from the usual trinkets and items that end up in the landfill!
In reality, we are often unable to give the gift that most people need. The number two problem people face is MONEY. There is the minority, who have too much and it distracts them from their purpose on this earth, or the majority who have too little and they cannot make ends meet. Did you know that money conflict is the number one reason for divorce? You’re likely aware that most people also live pay-cheque to pay-cheque with little or no plan in place for their finances.
Earn, invest, and spend! Giving and being generous were not part of the conversation. A culture of consumption led me down a self absorbed road for a long time. Even though there’s been a shift towards generosity and giving in our culture, it’s a small step towards a great goal. Truth is most people don’t know how to give. That was me – 35 years old and self serving. Self examination doesn’t show us how greedy we are…..you can’t see it in the mirror.
Has anyone taught you how to be rich by giving? Society, culture, TV, advertising taught our parents to want it all and to overspend to get it. This left them with little to be generous with. Few schools teach how to give. Then fear of the future robs us of our desire to give and be generous. Often we don’t give as we value security, not only materialism, hoarding our possessions. There is often competition for Lordship in our lives between God and money.
How can you change? What’s the process?
Start with the foundation…..
Jesus himself reminds us, “…you cannot serve both God and money”.
Then consider the real security in life…..
“Therefore, do not worry about your life”
Jesus assures us we don’t have to worry about our life because God’s promised to take care of us.
……further Jesus teaches in verse 33,
But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
Then start praying…..
God what do you want me to do with all you’ve entrusted to me?
Stop looking around, over your shoulder or to social media to find a hero. Look in the mirror instead. You were created for a purpose and your life has meaning. Do you consider doing something unimaginably courageous? You can make a world of difference.
Whether you’re a Christian or not, doing this one thing will make you a hero and make a difference to the lives of millions of people! If you’re a Christian, even better, because we’re called by God to make disciples in all nations.
Three years ago, in a small rural Kenyan village, I saw a glorious thing. A dug well that provided water for thousands of villagers. But horror hit me when I took two steps and was introduced to the graves of the patriarchs of the village. Grandma and Grandpa were buried within feet of this precious water source were decomposing and turning this precious well into a contaminated water source that was killing villagers. The image continues to haunt me.
“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”
Every day, 1 billion people wake up to another day without safe drinking water. Children are sick and weak. There’s a constant struggle to find the most basic of human needs. Poverty grips 80% of the worlds’ population and won’t let go. The lack of safe drinking water is a crisis worldwide.
Here’s how this applies you. Watch this 3 minute video.
This young girl wants to buy 1,000,000 chickens – doesn’t that video make you scream – “what can I do to apply this teaching to my life to make a difference?” Through this and other events in my life, I realized being generous meant drilling wells as the most cost effective way to help the most people. But not everyone’s called to do this. However, everyone can make a difference by asking “how many people will I try to help”?
This is thin ice I’m stepping on; after all as Canadians we pride ourselves in helping around the world. But I really want you to wrestle with this for yourself. Don’t think about an image that we project and protect. Think about reality!
Have you ever received a spontaneous gift, something truly unexpected? A small gift made a big impression on me. A few years ago a friend gave me a Santana CD. He just knew I liked the music and gave me the CD. Suddenly I became aware of the tension between my own selfishness, with my time and money, and generosity.
Here’s the struggle, we have limited time and money to give. Most of us might feel we don’t have margin in our lives. If we don’t make changes and become more open-handed, it’ll cost us in terms of how we’re perceived and how we’ll be remembered.
Leaders lead by example. Remember the old saying, “more is caught than taught?” Well now is your time to shine and lead by example!
Often I find myself wondering how to respond to pictures of the poor on magazine covers. When I’m at the gym, watching one of five TV screens, I often see videos of the poor and I feel guilty. Why was I blessed to be born in such a wealthy country? What could I do to help? Then I’ll grab a bottle of fresh water, rehydrate myself and forget my good intentions.
Most of us take clean drinking water for granted, yet over 1 billion people in the world still lack access to clean, safe water. Children are weak and sick. There is a constant struggle to find the most basic of human needs. The lack of safe water worldwide is a crisis. It steals the lives of 5,500 people each day. More than war, natural disasters, AIDS or hunger. Much to our shame, this rarely makes headlines. It is today’s silent killer.
Stop right there! That’s the place where together we can make a big difference. There is a simple guilt-free solution!