One of my favorite things about Christmas is the opportunity to give. As long as I live I want to always have a giving mindset. As a student pastor, one of my goals is to help students understand that nothing they own belongs to them. All time, possessions, and thoughts belong to God. Everything belongs to God! Every minute of the day belongs to God. Every dollar we have belongs to God. Every thought we have belongs to God. Psalm 24:1 says, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.” Because what we have actually belongs to God in the first place, we should give back to God and to others cheerfully. The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 9:7 “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” Giving is not so much about money, but rather it is an issue of the heart.
With only a few days left in this Christmas season I’ve compiled a list of seven ways you can give in ways that are outside of your weekly tithe. I hope this list will stay with you and your family every year and help you to develop a giving mindset in life.
- Give an offering that is one dollar more than the most expensive item you purchase for a friend or relative to missions. As we spend money on getting our family and friends presents during the holidays, giving an amount of money to missions that is one dollar more than your most expensive gift helps you and your family remember what the main point of Christmas is, Jesus.
- Give $5.00 to the person who checks you out the next time you are shopping at your local supermarket or department store. The checkout person will be very shocked when you ask them how their day is going and then you hand them $5.00 and tell them to get lunch on you today. This will certainly cheer them up and potentially make an impact on the rest of their day.
- Instead of you and your spouse getting each other several presents each for Christmas, find a family from your church or in your community who may be in need of some help this Christmas. Take a couple of your purchases for each other and buy a couple of presents for the the families children.You will be a blessing to the family and to each other.
- As you go through the drive-thru to pick your next fast food order, pay for the person who is behind you in the drive-thru. When you pay for the person behind you, both the cashier in the drive-thru and the person in the car will be amazed by your generosity. You will make the person’s day by simply buying their lunch. They’ll be talking about you all afternoon and not even know who you are! While you are at it, give $5.00 to the cashier and tell them to grab a snack on you.
- Clean out your closets and your children’s toy box. Donate all of the clothes you no longer wear and toys your kids no longer play with to the Salvation Army. Many who cannot afford clothes and toys will be blessed by your clothes through the Salvation Army.
- Call a local nursing home and find out how many men and women are living there. Go to your local dollar store and buy all the women hairbrushes and all of the men a warm pair of socks. You and your family wrap them up and deliver them to the men and women at the nursing home. This is a sweet thing for your whole family to get involved in.
- If you cannot give financially, then volunteer at your community homeless shelter. Make your time count for the holidays by using it to serve someone else. This makes a great family activity. Caring for the homeless and spending time serving them is a great act of kindness. It also makes for a great teachable moment for your kids.
It is easy to fall into the trap of keeping all that we receive or by only giving the ten percent to the church. We can sit and imagine all the things we could buy if we had all the money in the world. We could buy nicer clothes, cooler cell phones, shoes, cars, and go to the movies every single day. You could probably even pay someone to do all of your work! But we don’t have all the money in the world. If you only think of the money you receive as an opportunity to buy you more stuff, then you miss the point. Every time we choose to give of ourselves, we are showing the love of Christ. We must understand that getting is designed for giving. I hope sacrificial giving will always be incorporated into your life, especially at Christmas time. Merry Christmas!