Monday, November 19, 2007

Monday Moment: Thanksgiving of Freely Giving

Freely you have received,
freely give.
-Matthew 10:8

Ah, the week of Thanksgiving. Time for giving thanks. Time for bowing our heads and rushing through prayers so we get to the gravy before it gets cold and the game before it goes off. Ah, Thanksgiving...

I've been thinking about it these past several days. Thanksgiving, that is. I've been thinking about the importance of giving thanks. The importance of giving, period.

The importance of giving...

Here's what I've re-decided: Christians should be the most generous people on earth. Really. We should. Christians... those who've accepted the grace of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord... should be the most hospitable, compassionate, and generous people in the world. We should be the biggest givers. The best tippers. We should be falling all over each other to be the first in line to donate. The first in line to volunteer. And we're... not. We're not.

It's tragic, I think. It's an indictment on our faith. It's a slap in God's face, I think, whenever waiters dread seeing the church crowd come in to eat. ( Why? Because we can be some of the most demanding eaters and worst tippers out there. Shame on us. Christians should be the friendliest and most generous.) And the Salvation Army bell ringers? They should be able to pick us out of the crowd. And the coat drive and Toys for Tots workers? They should be hopping up and down when our Jesus-fished cars pull alongside their trailers.

Why don't we give more? Have you ever thought about it? Here we are, you and me, the unworthy recipients of a heaven's load of grace, love, and sacrifice. The undeserving takers of security, provisions, and peace - not just for this life, but also for the next. Here we stand, under a gushing shower of blessings, yet we can't seem to pass it on. Not even a small part. We can't seem to cast our bread upon the waters. Heck, half the time we forget to give thanks for our bread.

Hey, I'm raising my hand here. I'll admit: I do a shoddy job of giving. I try, sometimes, to remember to give: to give thanks, to give time, to give money, to give prayers, to give love, to give a hand. And sometimes I do give. (But freely? No. Probably not.) And I try to remember those less fortunate than me. I remember them, and then order vanilla in my Diet Coke and an upgrade on my Netflix account.

We've forgotten, haven't we? In our busy, materialistic, instant-gratification society, we've allowed ourselves to be swept away by the ungrateful, I-deserve-everything-I've-worked-for, I really don't have that much anyway, current. And wow. If you slept underneath a roof last night, you're better off than 80% - 8 out of 10 - people in this world. Shame on us. We've forgotten how much we've received. We've forgotten to give.

I don't know about you, but this week I'm trying to put the "giving" back in Thanksgiving. Sure, giving thanks is vital, but giving itself... well, giving goes to the very heart of Christianity. Giving should be who we are, not what we do.

It's just a thought. Just a thought as the convictions tumble and rumble from my head to my heart, much like my clean, pretty clothes are tumbling and rumbling around in my fancy electric dryer in the next room....

Freely we have received. How much more freely, then, should we be giving during this time of Thanksgiving!

Monday Moment is a little devotional to kick-start your week. See you again next Monday!


Anonymous said...

Oh how well you said that Brin. I too want to give "thanks" but also remember the "giving"..if we Christians would "give" as we should, can you imagine how many lives would be changed??
Great post, Brin!

MyLifeWithTrent said...

Amen, Brin, amen. I love giving!

Elenka said...

Are you home yet, Brin??

Anonymous said...

Amen, sister!

Brambleberry said...

Yes. Yes. Yes!

Vee said...

Yes, we believe that Christians should be the brightest and best. Truth is, the only difference between Christians and anyone else is that Christians know that they need a Savior. For that reason, we are a motley bunch. LOL!

About ten years ago, I heard a wonderful radio pastor preaching on giving a 20% tip. It sounded radical to me as I was giving less. His reasoning was just as you say, Christians should be the most generous, caring group of people anywhere.

Thank you for writing "Monday Moments." I am still hoping that you gather them together for a devotional. ;>

Anonymous said...

A wonderful thought piece for Thanksgiving...thank you!

Anonymous said...

I know many Christians who give - deeply from their pockets and time. It's an honor to anonymously bless someone else. In our churches and elsewhere there are many hurting souls, some will be completely alone for the holidays, some cannot afford the basic provision for a special meal much less the electricity bill on their kitchen counter. Give. Give more.

Domestically the $ and materials get to who they're intended. Internationally however, the case is unfortunate - the government absorbing the $ and food, using it for those in power and their military only - not to the poor and starving, whom the gift was first intended.

While it is more blessed to give than receive, we must be wise in ensuring the gift is truly received by the intended recipient.

Lallee said...

Brin, your words are wise as always and just what I needed to hear. I've been fretting all day as I prepare my home and food for our visiting British neighbors. I've been wrestling with God and letting the JOY of giving be stolen from me. I will meditate on this as I proceed on. Thank you dear one and have a very, very blessed time with your family and friends. I pray for you regularly in your new journey.


Unknown said...

So true! Why is this time of the year all about giving and not the rest of the year? I love giving too and I thank God each night for my blessings, but your right, we all can do more to give of our selves,as we should! Happy Thanksgiving Brin! Great post!

Anonymous said...

Wow, I left the states, came over here, gave up so much, and yet I'm convicted about what you had to say! I horde all of my "stuff" WAY too much! I hate that about myself. I hate that I always think about my needs first. Thanks for the reminder.

love you,

Anonymous said...

I read this to my Sunday School class on Sunday -- forgot to tell you when we had lunch. They loved it!

Kristy said...

Just wanted to let you know that I'm one of your regular readers, and I keep coming back to this post again and again.

Very, very, very well said.