Tis the Season?
Tis the season for giving and receiving. I know you are thinking, that isn’t for two more months but if you venture into your local big box stores you will find yourself lost in a plethora of Christmas trees, wreaths, and outdoor decorations. My recent trip to the big orange box hardware store was quite startling as next to the harvest colored mums and other fall decorations were brightly decorated red and green plain and flocked artificial Christmas trees and decorations. All were vainly attempting to entice me to get ready for the Christmas tide season.
Retail businesses really do seem to push the season earlier every year in hopes to make their last quarter sales bigger and better.Â I found myself dismayed about the force of the Christmas decorations in juxtaposition to the fall harvest and Halloween ones. However, I also found myself thinking about the season of giving and receiving. The season that consistently tells us that it is better to give than to receive maybe should indeed echo its refrain year around. Perhaps the big box stores, although misguided in their intentions and context, have an idea that we should hold onto.Â
When Jesus tells us to give and we will receive a gift in greater abundance it may not be what you think. He isn’t talking about giving a sweater, a dazzling jewel, or even an extravagant luxury gift. No, when Jesus speaks of giving and receiving He is telling us to “forGive” generously, graciously, and compassionately. It is when we do this that we will receive back in full measure with forgiveness poured back to us.
Getting What You’re Giving
We ”get” what we ”give.” We often hesitate to give as we should because we want to make sure that we are going to receive back an equal gift. Like the two Jewish brothers who went to their Rabbi to settle a longstanding feud. The Rabbi was able to get the two to reconcile their differences and shake hands. As they were about to leave, he asked each one to make a wish for the other in honor of the Jewish New Year. The first brother turned to the other and said, ”I wish you what you wish me.” At that the second brother threw up his hands and said, ”See Rabbi, he’s starting up again!”
We will receive from others what we give to others. We must consider our own actions before forming judgements against others. Learning to love one another and not place judgement before considering our own behavior is in first order. Christ teaches us to “forGive” and become givers in doing so. The measure that we use against others is the measure used for our own behaviors.
Learning to put the Measuring Stick Away
Sometimes it is difficult to not get out our measuring sticks when looking at others. It is important for us to remember that just because someone doesn’t do things the way we would doesn’t always make them wrong just different. Judging the behavior of others must be done carefully and only after first making sure our own behavior is in order first. It is important to remember that we are all sinners and there is no such thing as a big or small sin to God for they are all the same to Him. Each of us should be striving daily to please God and do His will. Forgiveness is for everyone and forgiving is the first step in learning to be a true giver. The blessings we receive as we “forGive” to others will return to us in full measure running over.
Give and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full-pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back. Luke 6:38 (NLT)
Stop, Look, and Listen to Receive
To abundantly receive you first must gain a “forGiving” spirit. Just like caution that should be used when crossing a train track. Â When you find yourself bordering on barreling down with the train of judgment you must STOP and see a person first as a child of God. You must then LOOK at yourself and see your offensive behaviors. And lastly and perhaps the most important is to LISTEN clearly to this person who may be hurting. Keeping forgiveness in the foreground and determining how to treat them generously, graciously, and compassionately with love is the key to receiving your own gift in full return.
It comes down to love. It is the lesson that Christ taught all too well and sacrificially demonstrated for you. You can expect to be treated the way you treat others for what you give will return back to you. So love and be loved. Â A reporter once asked Captain Levy, the first Jewish Commodore in the U.S. Navy and major philanthropist, how he could give so much to the Lord’s work and still possess great wealth. The Captain replied, ”Oh, as I shovel it out, He shovels it in, and the Lord has a bigger shovel.”
So find yourself in the season of “forGiving” and receiving year around no matter the current decorations at the local retail store. Be challenged to love and “forGive” others that you may not agree with while stopping to look within yourself first. Follow the convictions of Christ through His examples in loving and offering forgiveness being motivated in knowing that how you measure others will be how you are measured. And with it all wrap yourself in the comfort of knowing that the blessings you give will one-day return to you in over abundance.
Love in Christ,
I do not believe one can settle how much we ought to give. I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare.
When we see a brother or sister in sin, there are two things we do not know: First, we do not know how hard he or she tried not to sin with the power of the forces that assailed him or her. And second, we do not know what we would have done in the same circumstances.
Credits Brown, S. (1993, April 5). Christianity Today, p. 17. Today in the Word. (1990, July). Captain Levy. Today in the Word, p. 28.
What are your thoughts? Join Us in Discussion
Do you find it difficult to “forGive” in order to receive? Is your measuring stick consistently being pulled out when you hear of and see others that you don’t agree with? Join us in discussion on the true meaning of Giving and Receiving.