The Other Side of Christmas: December 16

Proper Focus on the Holiday Season              

December 16, 2019
by Katie Carpenter            

2 Corinthians 9:6-15 (ESV) 
The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.  
 
As it is written,  
“He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor; his righteousness ensures forever.” 
 
He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God. For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God. By their approval of this service, they will glorify God because of your submission flowing from your confession of the gospel of Christ, and the generosity of your contribution for them and for all others, while they long for you and pray for you because of the surpassing grace of God upon you. Thanks be to God for His inexpressible gift.  

Christmas is a time that reminds us of all the joy that can come from giving. It also reminds us of the burden you can feel when you feel expected to give out of obligation. God doesn’t want you to feel compelled to give out of guilt, pleasure, or obligation. He calls us to give out of our trust in Him. Nothing on this earth is “ours”. He is the creator and provider of all things. If we put our trust and faith in Him that He will provide what we need. Then giving becomes easy and joyful. “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?”  (Matthew 6:25-26, ESV)  
 
So, what happens when we trust in Him and become generous givers? We benefit. As Paul says, “God loves a cheerful giver.” He blesses generous givers. Verses 8-11 emphasize that “God is able to make all grace abound to you.” I know what some of you are thinking, because I’ve had the same thought – sometimes it doesn’t feel like you have room in the budget to give even a little bit let alone generously, especially during the Christmas season. The great part is God will give you what you need so that you can be generous. “He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God.” (2 Corinthians 9:10-11) So not only do you benefit by bringing glory to God and receiving His endless grace, He will provide what you need to give, and it feels great. Cheerful givers love and trust God and that deepens each time they give. It is an act of worship and it’s exhilarating!  
When you give, others benefit. Paul mentions specific ways that others will benefit:

  • The poor will be fed. Churches will be planted. Missionaries will be supported. The gospel will be advanced. 
  • It will cause others to thank God and give glory to Him. When you give, you will be an answer to someone else’s prayer. When God uses you to meet their needs, they will thank and glorify God as a result of your gift.
  • It will bring you closer to others. They will long for and pray for you because of your generosity to them.  

So in closing, God asks us to trust in Him as our creator and provider. You will benefit from giving and it feels great. God will provide you with what you need to be a generous giver and others will benefit. The church’s mission will move forward and more people will trust and follow Jesus. Embrace this season of giving and enjoy the joy that it brings.  
 
RESPOND
Give giving a try! Trust in God to provide what you need to be a generous and cheerful giver. Seek His guidance and let Him work through you to meet the needs of others.   

PRAY
Father, thank You for giving us the opportunity to trust in You and feel the exhilarating joy that comes from giving. Help us to give freely when You place a need before us. Guide us, open our eyes, and help us to have the courage to act on opportunities. Thank You for providing everything we need to allow You to work through us. You are a good Father who gave the ultimate gift in Jesus. You showed us the incredible work that can be done through giving when Jesus gave His life to save us for all eternity. We love You. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

About the author:
Katie Carpenter
 
Katie is a mother of two and military spouse who works as Stafford County's Emergency Management Planner. She has attended Stafford Crossing and been a part of her small group for two years.  Her favorite way to serve is helping those in need during the holiday season and all year long.