Monday, December 3, 2007

Christmas Giving

1. What is a gift? “Something that is bestowed voluntarily and without compensation” (The Free Dictionary).
2. Nature of a gift
A. Holy (Mt 5:23-24)
B. Right Attitude (Gen 4:3-4)
3. To whom should we give?
A. To the Poor: Ex 23:11-12
B. To those who cannot payback (Mt 6:3; Lk 6: 30-35). I mean giving not a loan. Why then do people make secret Santas and get angry that “I gave but my secret Santa did not give me as much as I gave my own partner”?
C. Those who lack and not to those who are lazy. On the contrary every man should work to give (I Thes 4:11-12; 2 Thes 3:10-12)
D. To those of the same household of faith first (Gal 6:10). Each time I receive letters of kids that need to be sponsored. I look at the one which has the clause brother or sister in Christ first, call the church and talk with the pastor and start from there. When I finish and still have enough then I look outside the Family of God. People always say why. Well as a child of God I can only do as the Lord prescribes.
4. How much should we give?
A. Give cheerfully and generously (Ex 35:5; Mt 10:8; 2 Cor 9:6-8)
B. What belongs to you (I Chr 26:27). You know how some people are quick to give only things that belong to others or a group. I remember this guy in church who was praying: “Lord If I had a plane I will give it to you. Lord you know if I had a car I will give it to you. Papa you know if I have a boat I will give it to you. Daddy you know if I had a ship I will give it to you. Savior (this time screaming), you know if I had even a motorcycle I will give it to you. And his son; feeling as though he has had enough turned to him and said: “dad, you should say Lord if I had a bicycle you know I will give it to you”. All of a sudden he smacked the child on the head. Saying: “you know that is the only thing your father has to go to work with”. You smile, don’t you?
C. Giving in Proportion to what you have been given (Deut 16:16-17). Listen to that: “Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the LORD thy God which he hath given thee”. Now a quick question: does the money of the credit card belong to you? When you borrow to give is that giving according to your ability? So why are people borrowing to give during Christmas?
In the course of sacrifice the poor was not to give less (Ex 30:15). Then Jesus said the widow has given much more than what the rich gave (Lk 12:59). That means in the eyes of God gifts are in relation to their quality. Take a look at the gift to God that He decries from the mouth of Malachi (Mal I: 6-8). In practical terms, don’t give people only things you don’t want. I remember when I just came to the US in 1999 and a brother called me that he had some clothes for me. Then he said: “this shirt I used to wear it in 1976 but my grandson said he does not want it”. You like that, don’t you? We also had a neighbor that will give you food only when she cannot more eat it. A true widow’s mite must hurt you somewhere internally.
Let us look at some biblical calculi. Would God have asked Abraham for a daughter? Not at all! Why because God does not tempt us more than we can bear (10:13). God would not have asked Abraham to sacrifice a daughter he has not got. God asked Moses: Moses what is that in your hand he said a staff. God used that (Ex 4:1-14). Through the mouth of Elijah God asked the widow to bring just what he she had (I Kgs 17: 10-17). Jesus asked for what the people could afford to give. So all they had was the two fish and five loaves of a youngster (Jn 6:1-12). So would God ask you to go and borrow to give to anyone during this Christmas? No! Never! Why are you borrowing to give to people?
Giving something of value does not mean we impoverish ourselves (I Chr 21:22-24). I hear pastors preaching that Christians should sow monster seed. That is stealing with the Bible. That is what I call Retiary Gospel. Those are just a web of lies to get money from you. Jesus said: “If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you” (Lk 17:6). You see, it is not monster but mustard seed. Here it is in terms of size: no matter how small your gift if it is holy and in the right attitude is it very important before God.
5. Why should we give?
A. A gift is precious (Prov 17:8)
B. A man’s gift maketh room for him (Prov 18:16)
C. A gift pacify anger (Prov 21:14)
Dear friends, as you give cheerfully you will reap abundantly. The God we serve watches over his word to fulfill it (Is 55: 11; 46:10; Jer 1:12). If you follow the recommendations of his word He will surely fulfill them for you.
The Perfect Gift
However, my people, the best gift anyone should receive this Christmas is the gift of Eternal life through Jesus Christ (Rom 6:23). He is the best gift because we work and travail to make our lives happy. But we all know that neither money nor people can make our lives happy and joyful because of a nature that is corrupt. You see, all of us have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Rom 3:23). And the wages of this sin is death (Rom 6:23). That means; though we walk we are not alive spiritually and then our souls will wroth in hell fire (Mk 9:44-48). Now think about it: what shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world and lose his soul (Mk 8:36)? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul (Mk 8: 37)? Well, listen to me then: the fullness of life you have been looking for in bars, clubs, women, men, drugs and other places is found in Jesus because He is the way, the truth and the life and no one goes to the Father but only through him (Jn 14:6). Are you ready this Christmas to enjoy a better Christmas? Are you ready to have joy abundantly? Perhaps you know some people who say they are Christians but they are using drugs. Those have refused to live as the Lord wants. If you trust God with all your heart He will bless you. And the blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it (Prov 10:22). Commit your life to Christ and pray for God to forgive your sins. Go and it shall be well with you!

Until then, May Christ be your everlasting gift.

Prince & PA Hamilton Ayuk.

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