This Christmas I am convicted by my own selfishness.
As I think of Jesus’s gift—God laying aside heaven and the worship due him to come to earth for us—I realize that my gift-giving bears little resemblance to his. Jesus emptied self while much of my giving costs me little. Apart from tangible family gifts, I do give time and money to our church and ministries throughout the year, but not to the extent that Jesus did—thinking of others before himself.
I am faced with this question: am I giving anything that really costs me anything precious and valuable?
I give money to God’s kingdom work, but I seem to have plenty left over for the things that I really want, even if I have to wait a while to get them. When I give my time, it usually involves things that I enjoy, that use my giftedness and fuel my passions. And I believe we were made to do that.
But where is the selfless giving of Christ? Do we need to do things we hate in order to feel that we are giving selflessly?
Over the past few years God has been convicting me about the ridiculous amount of stuff I own. Even though I try to stay on top of cleaning out and giving things away which are not being used, we have way too much—much more than we really need. If the women I met in Kenya last summer were to visit my home, they would be overwhelmed by its size and decor—really its luxury. They live in homes with dirt floors without electricity or running water. Yet, they are joyful and generous with others.
The story of Christmas spurs me on to find patterns for my life that will enable me to give until it hurts in some tangible way. Before the next year is over I hope that I can say that I have extended myself more selflessly than ever before. I don’t want to fool myself into thinking that I will ever learn to give as Jesus did, thinking of others more than myself, but I want to move in that direction.
I need your help. What patterns have you developed for your own life to guide you as you give?