It is our shame & disgrace today that so many Christians...go through this world in the spirit of the priest and the Levite in our Lord's parable, seeing human needs all around them, but (after a pious wish, and perhaps a prayer, that God might meet them) averting their eyes, and passing by on the other side. That is not the Christmas spirit. Nor it is the spirit of those Christians - alas, they are many - whose ambition in life seems limited to building a nice middle-class Christian home, and making nice middle-class Christian friends, and bringing up their children in nice middle-class Christian ways, and who leave the sub-middle-class sections of the community, Christian and non-Christian, to get on by themselves.
excerpted from Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus: Experiencing the Peace and Promise of Christmas
The words slice my heart deep and I catch my breath. I wriggle in my seat, squirm at the conviction. Seeing yourself in words is uncomfortable sometimes.
The pain of realization is fresh. I know what I must do. No excuses, no rationalizations.
I'm setting aside the theme I had planned for next year. A new one calls urgently, unrelentingly.
2011 will be A Year of Giving.
Each month, my family will consciously seek to share Jesus in practical, life-changing ways. We will look for opportunities to give of our time, money, and talents.
Even though our income has been drastically reduced.
Even though our spare time is in short supply.
Even though we don't overflow with talent.
The goal is at least one project a month, but I am praying that we will be stretched to give more, to love more. That we can help change lives but, more importantly, that our lives will be changed. That we will be more aware of our blessings. That we will come to this time next year with a deep appreciation for what we have been given, and a burning desire to continue giving to others. That giving will become second nature, a way of living.
This theme is different from the others. It's shifting our perspective from what we can gain to what we can give.
Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.
- Luke 12:48 (ESV)
Will you join us in A Year of Giving? Pray that the Lord will open your eyes to new opportunities to give and share the love of Christ with others. In God's kingdom, the heart of the giver matters more than the size of the gift.
Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box, and he saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. And he said, "Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on."
- Luke 21:1-4 (ESV)