The Season of Giving

Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

 Galatians 6:2

The spirit of Christmas is one of giving, but it’s not just giving presents to loved ones, it’s giving to humanity as God gave us his Son to redeem us from a world of sin. Everyone needs a little help sometimes. After all, no one is meant to go through life alone. God is always by our side, and he encourages us to be there for others. Sometimes that includes when they are in the time of their greatest need, but it also means always being there for whatever someone needs. The Bible is filled with verses encourage helping others, because if life has given you blessings, it’s important to share those with your community. First John 3:17 says, “But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?” If you’re doing well for yourself, you would do well to try to give back as well. God wants us to succeed and pay that forward. For some people, that could mean volunteering with a local charity or donating to a good cause. For others, sharing blessings might be as simple as having an uplifting conversation with someone or lending emotional support to a friend who is going through a tough time. Acts 20:35 Paul tells the Ephesians, “I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” 

God reminds us that one crucial way to demonstrate our love for the Lord is to take action here on Earth and lend a helping hand. Bringing the Lord’s love into your community is a powerful act. It may not always be easy, but as a person of faith, God calls upon you to serve others and bring His light to them. In many ways, the act of being charitable is a reward in itself. Jesus tells us in Matthew 25:44-45, “Then they also will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’ Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’” This verse is a stark reminder that God is everywhere. Sometimes it can be hard to sense his presence in environments you’re not used to, or when you encounter a stranger in need. Keep your heart open and share his love with the world — it’s the right thing to do.

In the United States today, two philosophies prevail. One believes that we should help our fellow man. We should have social programs that lift up the poor, provide free healthcare, education, prison reform, and feed and shelter the homeless and hungry. The other philosophy believes that those who do not help themselves should not be helped. These people do not take into consideration a person’s circumstances, such as why the person is sick, hungry, homeless, or began a life of crime. Instead, they believe that if the rich get richer, then their economic well-being will trickle down to the poorest among us. They forget what Hebrews 13:16 says, ” But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.” One of the ways you can demonstrate your love for the God is to be compassionate and caring towards those you encounter here on Earth. Even small gestures can mean a great deal. Proverbs 19:17 tells us, “He who has pity on the poor lends to the Lord, And He will pay back what he has given.” In many ways, the mere act of being charitable is its own reward. But as this verse notes, being compassionate to people who are less fortunate is also something that God will reward. God is not so forgiving when we are selfish and collect wealth and prosperity and withhold it from others.

In Luke 3:10-11, When Jesus was asked in Luke 3:10, “What shall we do then?” In Luke 3:11, “He answered and said to them, ‘He who has two tunics, let him give to him who has none; and he who has food, let him do likewise.’” When life gives us extra blessings — whether it’s food, clothing, money, or something else — the right thing to do is to share those blessings however we can. Let Jesus guide us and show us how we can share with others. I think so many people forget what is said in Ephesians 4:32, “And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” Jesus modeled the best behavior for us to emulate. I know it has become cliché, but we have to ask ourselves, “What would Jesus do?” Kindness, compassion, and forgiveness FOR ALL. We must try to do as Jesus said and did, and if we do, God will look down on us favorably.

About Joe

I began my life in the South and for five years lived as a closeted teacher, but am now making a new life for myself as an oral historian in New England. I think my life will work out the way it was always meant to be. That doesn't mean there won't be ups and downs; that's all part of life. It means I just have to be patient. I feel like October 7, 2015 is my new birthday. It's a beginning filled with great hope. It's a second chance to live my life…not anyone else's. My profile picture is "David and Me," 2001 painting by artist Steve Walker. It happens to be one of my favorite modern gay art pieces. View all posts by Joe

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