Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Season of Giving

For men shall be lovers of their own selves... 2 Timothy 3:2
Christmas is traditionally the season of giving. We give gifts to our family and friends. We give toys to organizations who collect them for unfortunate children. We give money to feed the poor. Everywhere we turn there are opportunities for giving.

But the biggest gift we can give, and one that should be done on a daily basis all year long, involves not our finances but our attitudes. Selfishness is the antithesis of giving, and selfishness creeps into our lives without our realizing it. Selfishness wants "my plate" to have the bigger piece of pie. It causes us to criticize others for the most trivial of mannerisms.

"You can't do it like that!"
"My way is better!"
"But in OUR family..."
"Well, we don't eat that!"
"I always turn left there, not right!"

I think you get the idea. At the heart of all of our actions is usually our own selfishness. We are willing to give, but only so far as we don't have to become uncomfortable, or only as long as we can have our usual portion. We give what is left over after we have taken our fill.

In Ephesians 4:17-19, the Apostle Paul tells the church to not walk like everyone else "in the vanity of their mind." He goes on in verse 18 to describe these same people with words like "darkened", "alienated", "ignorance", and "blindness". Then in verse 19 he says, "Who being past feeling..." Wow! I don't think you can get any more selfish than that!

But look at verse 20. This verse really strikes at the heart of the matter for me - "You did not so learn Christ." (Ephesians 4:20)

The old saying goes "Keep Christ in Christmas." I would alter it to read, "Keep Christ" all year long. After all, Christ came to earth specifically to give, and in the end, He gave the ultimate sacrifice. His was the maximum gift of unselfishness. He gave His life for those who didn't deserve it, didn't earn it, and didn't even care.

The very least I can do is guard my heart against everyday selfishness, asking God to forgive me when I have messed up.

What if I gave away all that I owned and let myself be burned alive? I would gain nothing, unless I loved others....Love isn't selfish... (2 Corinthians 13:3,5)
Suzanne Williams Photography
Florida, USA

Suzanne Williams is a native Floridian, wife, and mother, with a penchant for spelling anything who happens to love photography.

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