Advent 2021: Wednesday, December 8

December 8, 2021

The not so Cheerful Giver

Every year my wife and I talk about how this year we want to focus the spirit of Christmas around giving to those who need. I suspect that I'm not alone in feeling like I spend a lot of time trying to figure out what to buy for people in my life who really don't need anything. Don't get me wrong. Gift giving and this is certainly a fun way of showing each other our love, but it never seems to bring me the joy and satisfaction that one would expect.

Recently I was pumping gas in my car when I spotted a man with a gas can walking toward me. As he passed up the other pumps, he confirmed my suspicion that he was going to hit me up for some free gas. Reluctantly, I put my nozzle in his can. As I pumped, I couldn't help but feel a spirit of resentment. I got cornered, suckered in, and was now at nearly $4 a gallon, I was being taken advantage of. To add to it he felt at liberty to inform me that the can holds 6 gallons. Well, I gave him a couple, since I was nobody's fool and he left. 

As I got in my car I felt as though I had failed. My heart was not ready to give, and as a result I failed to give generously because of my pride. More importantly I failed to share the love of Jesus with someone who didn't just have an empty fuel tank. Perhaps my fuel tank was empty because I had not bothered to fill it up, or I had not allowed God to fill it. 

The act of generous giving blesses both the giver and the receiver when it is done through the love of Christ.

On the bright side, I know I'll get another chance. 

“Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Cor 9:7).

Matt Dayton, elder