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December 1, 2016

A Lifestyle of Giving

“When you help the poor you are lending to the Lord—and He pays wonderful interest on your loan!”  Proverbs 19:17 (TLB)

Imagine the kind of world we would live in if we treated one another as we would treat the Lord.  Jesus may have had this Proverb in mind when He said,

“I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you did for Me.” Matthew 25:40 (NIV)

One of the marks of maturity in our lives as we grow in Christlikeness is generosity.  It’s been said, “You can give without loving (some might call that Christmas, exchanging gifts out of obligation), but you can’t love without giving.”  When you love, you naturally want to give.  You want to give your best regardless of the sacrifice because it really doesn’t even seem like a sacrifice.  That’s what God did for you and me.

“For God so loved the world, He gave His only begotten Son….”  (John 3:16)

When you’ve experienced that love, your life will never be the same. Self-centeredness is replaced with a Christ-centeredness that motivates you to give.  The Bible speaks often of our gifts to the poor, to those who cannot respond in kind; giving with no ulterior motive but for the one receiving the gift to be blessed.  In fact, Proverbs goes even further and says that when we help the poor, we are lending to the Lord!  Those gifts never go unnoticed or unrewarded.  Proverbs says that God pays wonderful interest on your loan!  The New Living Translation puts it like this,

“If you help the poor, you are lending to the LORD – and He will repay you!”

God will be no one’s debtor.  The truth is we can never out give God. This Christmas season, as you consider your Christmas list, consider your gifts to the poor.  Give as though you were giving to the Lord.  Each year, thousands of gifts are given through Woodlands Church to those who would not otherwise receive a gift through our Angel Tree ministry.  It’s been one of the greatest blessings we experience at Christmas as a church.  Whether it is through the Angel Tree ministry or one of our local or global mission initiatives that help the poor, we each have an opportunity to experience the joy of giving. Give as though you are giving to Christ.  Make it your greatest gift this Christmas and see what God does!