“Tis better to give than to receive.”
What a CROCK!!!
Okay, I’m being a bit dramatic…maybe it’s not a total crock, but I do believe it can be a trick—an over-used trick meant to keep us from THE BEST GIFT EVER!
Here’s what I’ve seen in my own life:
When I keep my focus on what I’m giving, I forget to take stock of what I’m receiving. Before I know it, I’m running on fumes, and as a mother of three (including two teenage boys), a middle school teacher, and a wife...running on fumes isn’t good at all.
When I keep my focus on what I’m giving without remembering what I’ve received, I can quickly become a score keeper—tallying up all that I’m giving and all that others are not giving. This is the perfect fertilizer for bitterness and resentment. Not good.
When I keep my focus on what I’m giving—whether I want to do this or not—I can begin to expect things to come back around to me. Entitlement can creep in. I’m giving and giving and giving around here. Isn’t it about time I get what’s coming to me? Yuch!
I could go on, but I think you see my point.
Here’s what I see in the world:
When people focus on what they are giving, they can fool themselves into believing that giving nullifies all the other crummy things they do.
When people focus on what they are giving, it can actually be a deflection technique—a skillfully crafted method for keeping people out of a well-locked heart.
When people focus on what they are giving, they are apt to believe that if only their good will outweigh their bad (even if by a smidge)…that’s all they need in order to make it to heaven.
And that last one is the most devastating of all.
I feel so, so, so sad for people who believe that they have to give (and perform well) enough to make sure their good outweighs their bad. What a horrible existence, ya know? The constant wondering if one has done enough. And what’s the litmus test for that? How can a human mind ever really know the magic point—the moment at which his or her good has stepped a foot in front of the bad?
I feel bad for folks who believe they have to keep giving and giving because…well, honestly… it just sounds exhausting. Don’t get me wrong, I love to give. It’s fun to give. But I would hate feeling like I have to give to save my very soul.
And I feel bad for the folks who are working hard to earn heaven (or to earn God’s favor) because…well, they kind of look like…fools.
Don’t they know they are working their butts off for something that is being offered to them for FREE? They must not know. So, we’ve got to tell them. And this is the perfect time to tell them. Here’s the deal:
Christmas is truly, truly all about what you GET. It’s all and completely about what you’ll receive.
And here’s the thing God wants desperately for us to get:
For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. – Luke 2:11
And He wants us to get this:
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. – John 3:16
HE gave! He GAVE! He gave!
What did God give? His own Son. To pay the price for us. To give us a free ticket to paradise. A ticket we don’t have to give enough to get. We don’t have to work enough to earn. We don’t have to do anything…
Except receive it. We need to GET it. Our friends and family members need to get it. Our hurting and dying world needs to get it.
Because God paid a high price for this free gift He’s offering. And besides…haven’t we been taught that it’s rude not to accept a gift? Stop being rude to God, people!
And this is what I’ve discovered, as well: I truly can’t give anything… until I’ve first received the free gift of God’s eternal love. I’ve got nothing in me to give to anyone. Teasi Cannon is a total goofball who—when left to her own ways—always comes back around to empty. I can’t function at all without first receiving the love God’s constantly pouring on me.
And I don’t believe you truly can either. I don’t believe we can give what we haven’t first received.
So, let me ask you this: What are you getting this Christmas?