Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Better to give than to receive

I don’t know if this happens to you, but I get a lot of calls this time of year from charitable organizations asking me for money. I give as much as I can afford. Besides supporting my church and the local animal rescue group, I drop a dollar into every Salvation Army kettle I see.

I’m not telling you this to brag, I’m just making a point. So when the phone calls start coming in, I refuse most of them. Not that they aren’t worthy, just that I’m already pulled a little thin.

Jesus said it is better to give than to receive.

While Jesus never intended that we think of ourselves when we give, I want you to take a moment and do just that. How does giving make you feel? Whether you buy a bag of dog food to take to the local pound or purchase a few extra toys for the Toys for Tots barrel or stuff a dollar or ten in a red kettle, it feels absolutely wonderful to give. Try it. Even a selfish person--not that we have any here--gets an emotional surge from giving something to someone else.

You will probably never see the child who receives the toy you put into the barrel. And the dog at the shelter certainly can’t thank you for the kibble. Regardless, it feels wonderful to give.

Why do we do it then if we never receive accolades? My husband was telling me the other night about a reality show in which philanthropists go into poor neighborhoods, spend time with homeless people and then decide upon which ones to bestow $50,000. I’m sure these philanthropists are well meaning compassionate people. But I don’t think they are putting themselves out too badly. They are giving from their abundance and we've already established...

It feels wonderful to give.

Don’t think on this too long. I certainly don’t want to talk you out of giving this year. Just realize there is plenty more you have to give besides monetary gifts.

Give of yourself. Give a smile. Give the clerk at the register a break. They've dealt with enough rudeness today. Give someone your seat on the bus or the person at the grocery store with a handful of items your place in line. Give a word of kindness to everyone you come in contact with.

Do you remember that song we used to sing in Sunday School: This little light of mine, I'm going to let it shine.

Have you shone lately?

For it truly is better to give than to receive.

Be blessed and have a beautiful Christmas.

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