How thankful are we?
Are we thankful enough to share what we have with others? Are we thankful enough to give to others in their time of need? Are we thankful enough to give to others out of our abundance AND our own need?
Are we thankful enough to give to our family, or to our church family? How many times will we pass the bell-ringer this year without dropping something into that red bucket? Are we able to give to Toys for Tots just one little toy car or stuffed animal?
There’s a program called Operation Christmas Child that sends a shoebox – a shoebox – full of things to children in third-world countries across the world. The stories that have come out of that program about how happy it makes children are inspiring as well as heart-rending.
Think about that: This Christmas you get a shoebox of “presents” that include things like crayons, a coloring book, toothbrush, toothpaste, a small doll for the girls, a toy truck for the boys, and some other things that will fit into a shoebox and stand the journey.
And that’s all. No new bicycle, game console, remote controlled car, doll house full of furniture, laptop, nothing that requires batteries or electricity….. just some simple things that children who have nothing see as wonderful, amazing gifts.
A box of crayons.
Jesus sat across from the Temple one day, and watched as the people put money into the collection for the temple treasury. Rich people threw in large amounts. Then a lady came by. She was a widow, and a widow in those times was at the mercy of the kindness of strangers if there was no family to care for her. She was destitute, poor in every sense of the word, yet she gave two small copper coins, worth only a few cents, which was all that she had.
43 Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. 44 They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.” (Mark 12)
The saying goes “put your money where your mouth is” but perhaps it should be “put your faith where your money is.”
“Don’t store up treasures where moth and rust corrupts and destroys, but rather store your treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust corrupts; for where your treasure is, there will be your heart also.”
3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. (Matthew 6)
Sacrificial giving is not about what we expect God to do for us. It is about what God expects us to do for Him.