2 Corinthians 8:12 “God wants you to give what you have not what you haven’t.” Living Bible
As the Christmas season approaches and I scan, both the list of people I would like to give gifts to and my bank account balance, it is easy for me to feel discouraged. Perhaps you are experiencing a similar dilemma and wondering as I am how to reconcile the two.
In 2 Corinthians 8, it would seem that the Christians of Corinth were facing a likewise financial challenge. They had begun giving with eagerness and enthusiasm to help the development of Christianity throughout the regions, but something had occurred and their giving had not been completed. Just what happened we don’t know. Perhaps the church fell on hard times, maybe their wealthiest patron died or left, or there were job layoffs within their midst. Whatever the case, Paul was writing to and encouraging them to follow through on what they had begun in regards to their generosity. He also reminded them of this very important aspect of giving when he wrote:
“God wants you to give what you have not what you haven’t.”
And isn’t this really what true giving should be all about? Not giving expensively or lavishly out of what we don’t have and ending up in debt or regret, but giving out of what we have. And all of us have something to give, for God has blessed each Christian with spiritual gifts and talents, a truth that is well summed up in the popular Christmas carol The Little Drummer Boy. Though he had nothing in the way of material wealth, he gave out of what he had, not what he didn’t have. He gave of himself, of his talent by playing his drum for the new born babe.
In light of this I have made a decision and set myself the task of sorting through the treasure trove of the gifts and talents God has blessed me with, to pick and choose the most appropriate Christmas gift I have for each and every person on my gift list. Perhaps it will be a cookie treat basket for one or a small stained glass mosaic for another one’s window, or a family photo with a hand written letter, or a loaf of fresh bread once a week for a month, or an invitation to Sunday dinner, or . . . and so my lists goes and my dilemma has been resolved, now how about yours?
Prayer: Father God, We thank you for the Christmas gift of love which you gave to all mankind out of the depths of yourself. We bless you and praise for Jesus and pray that this Christmas the greatest gifts we give to others will be based not on what we don’t have but on what we do have. In Christ’s name we pray. Amen.