Open Your Bible
Deuteronomy 14:22-29, Psalm 24:1, Matthew 6:1-4, Mark 12:41-44, Acts 4:32-37, 2 Corinthians 8:1-15, 2 Corinthians 9:6-15
There is no worse place for your child to have the stomach bug than on an international flight. Our ten-month-old son had already been sick twice—once in his crib, and once on a bus ride to Heathrow Airport. By the third time, our plane was soaring west, high above the Atlantic Ocean. Flight attendants arrived with cleaning solvent and towels, while I tried not to cry—the baby was doing enough of that for the both of us. I had run out of clean clothes, for him and for me. After we cleaned up as best as we could, a woman seated next to me, bouncing an infant on her lap, leaned over.
“Does he need some clothes?” she asked, her British accent calm and kind. She began to dig in her purse. “I think they’re about the same size.”
To this day, that baby onesie continues to be one of the kindest gifts I’ve ever received. I would not have blamed that woman if she asked the flight attendant to change her seat. But instead, she stepped closer to my distress, and met me right in my desperate need.
Giving need not be mysterious, difficult, or ostentatious. An envelope of cash, slipped into a mailbox in secret. A lawn mowed without a word about the effort. A few hours spent at a soup kitchen, doling out warmth in a cold winter storm. Giving is an opportunity toward more creative, beautiful ways to bless the weary world around us. The discipline of giving generously toward others always gives an even better gift in return through the Spirit: joy.
The grace of giving is a balm for humanity. Everywhere you look (if you look) you will find people in need. Throughout the Old and New Testaments, the Lord extols the virtue of sacrificial giving. We are encouraged to give to the work of the kingdom (Mark 12:13–17), to the Church (2 Corinthians 9:6–9), foreigners (Deuteronomy 14:28–29), the fatherless (Psalm 82:3), and widows (Psalm 146:5–9). As we see in the story of the widow’s offering, generosity is never a question of how much. When we believe that “the earth and everything in it, the world and its inhabitants, belong to the LORD” (Psalm 24:1)—including our money, time, and resources—there is nothing to keep us from giving what we have away, even if it feels like pennies. God, in His kindness, knows what we need.
Christ invites us into the same selfless giving that defined His life. The kind that makes your jaw drop and your heart leap. And the best part is, the practice of giving and its fruit bless others, but they also transform us in the process; our lives get to become the living embodiment of Christ to the world. My little gifts become tiny echoes, pointing to God’s ultimate gift. How cool is that?
So begin today. Look around, and see where you might give spontaneously and abundantly. God sees all, and will fill your spirit with joy, even as He blesses the world through your giving.