“For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what one does not have.” 2 Corinthians 8:12 (NIV)
Each time I think about generous giving this Christmas — both to those across the world and those dear to me — a knot forms in my stomach. How are we supposed to get in the spirit of giving and exercise generosity when many of us are financially and emotionally drained from the effects of 2020?
This year has taken so much from every one of us, and from some more than others. Jobs have been lost; good health has been hijacked; and weddings, graduations, travel plans and other once-in-a-lifetime events have been downsized, postponed or canceled. And for some, loved ones have passed unexpectedly into eternity.
It’s disappointing enough looking at my own children and knowing that our family Christmas will look a little different, as I’m sure yours will too. Fewer gifts under the tree, visiting grandparents and other elderly relatives looks different and we won’t be able to partake in memorable traditions like cookie exchanges and neighborhood caroling. Mom guilt creeps in as I think of the memories being stolen from their childhood and the little time I have left with my little ones.
I want to be generous. I really do. But this year has made me feel like I don’t have much to give. How do I give when all I feel is lack?
One morning, when all of this was stirring in my heavy heart, I read 2 Corinthians 8:12, which tells us, “For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what one does not have.”
In that moment, I felt so much relief. As disappointment slowly lifted from my heart, God whispered to me, “All I ask is that you’re willing to give.”
Willingness is all God asks of us — willingness to lay a little of what we have in His hands and watch Him transform it into something beautiful. The amount of the gift doesn’t matter. Just like the widow with only a mite, (Mark 12:41-44) we may be scraping the bottom of our purses to give this year. And when we come up with the little we have left because of the much that COVID-19 has taken, and humbly offer it to God, He does with it exactly what Jesus did with the little boy’s five loaves and two fish. (John 6:1-14) He multiplies our little beyond our comprehension.
What did the widow and the little boy have in common that made their giving so dear and pleasing to God? The answer is their hearts. They had the same willing heart behind their generosity.
We serve a God of abundance who cares more about the heart of the giver than the gift itself.
Our plans may be canceled, but our calling to be generous is not. Will you join me in asking the Lord to make us willing to be used in whatever way He sees fit?
One place I know my gifts will have an eternal impact is by giving Truth to women who need it most. When I hear the fact that one in three women don’t know how to read the Bible they own, I realize just how many are hurting without the Word of God in their lives. I think back to that morning when God spoke to me through 2 Corinthians 8:12, and I wonder how heavy my heart might still be if it hadn’t been washed in God’s Word. At Proverbs 31 Ministries, our every day is spent eradicating this biblical poverty, bringing easily accessible Truth into the homes of millions of women.
Even if our baking, singing, gathering and serving looks much different this holiday season, let’s share “according to what we have.” Whether you have $10, $100 or $1,000 to give to a woman who needs it most, know that giving Truth is a timeless gift … one that even a hard year can’t cancel.
Dear Father, thank You for all You’ve graciously given to me. My desire is to give back to You with a willing heart that brings You glory. Help me focus on what I do have this Christmas season that I may give out of the abundance of which You’ve given me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY
Mark 12:43-44, “Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, ‘Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.’” (NIV)
John 6:9, 11, “‘Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?’ … Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish.” (NIV)
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REFLECT AND RESPOND
Have you ever wished you had more to give? How have you seen God use what you do have, even if it’s a little?
Have you seen the impact God’s Word can have on a family member, friend or in your own life above everything else? Share with us in the comments today!
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