We were recently asked to draw names and then give each other gifts at a Christmas party. I didn’t like the idea and really didn’t want to do it.
Do you want to know the reason I didn’t want to do the gift exchange?
“Nobody ever gives me a gift I like or want”.
After realizing that I was being selfish, I decided to write this message about the right attitudes, reasons, or motives we should possess when giving gifts.
The definition of “give”is to freely transfer the possession of something to someone; to hand over to them. or “To make a present of”
Another word for gift is present.
God gave us a present when Christ was born. The presence of Christ is a gift.
The definition of a “gift” is something freely presented as a gesture of love or affection.
1. Giving to Get
When giving gifts we shouldn’t expect something in return.
A. We usually do this because we want to earn someone else’s or God’s favor.
What utter blasphemy to suggest God can be bribed to favor us by our giving to Him! -David Ravenhill
I love to give and really enjoy teaching others how to give. One of my favorite verses is Luke 6:38.
Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”But I have to be careful as a teacher because ministers who teach this “give-to-get” doctrine are subject to stricter judgement. (James 3:1).
I love the story Jesus tells about the tax collector and the Pharisee in Luke 18:9-14 (NCV):
Jesus told this story to some people who thought they were very good and looked down on everyone else: “A Pharisee and a tax collector both went to the Temple to pray. The Pharisee stood alone and prayed, ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people who steal, cheat, or take part in adultery, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week, and I give one-tenth of everything I get!’
“The tax collector, standing at a distance, would not even look up to heaven. But he beat on his chest because he was so sad. He said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner. I tell you, when this man went home, he was right with God, but the Pharisee was not. All who make themselves great will be made humble, but all who make themselves humble will be made great.”
The one who gains favor with God is the one who humbles himself before God, acknowledging the reality of sin with a broken and contrite heart, desperate for God’s acceptance and forgiveness, begging for mercy.
I mentioned the TV evangelists who talk about giving to get something in return. “Give $50 and God will heal you”. Most of us despise this teaching. That’s why we need to be careful not to do the same thing.
B. It is wrong to give a gift because you want to manipulate someone or you hope you’ll get a good gift in return.
Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.
2. Giving To Get More
Here’s some ways we try to benefit ourselves from giving:
A. Giving because you want to be liked or feel important. It’s not a good idea
Do you see a person wise in their own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for them.
The Bible tells says you don’t need to please everybody.?”It is dangerous to be concerned with what others think of you.”?(Proverbs 29:25 LB)
Jesus said,?”I only seek to please Him who sent me.”? (John 5:30 LB)
Even Jesus didn’t try to please everybody
Even God can’t please everybody.
In Luke 6:26 Jesus said,?”Woe to you when all men speak well of you.”
B. You’re promoting fleshly desires such as pride and greed.
Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.
Proverbs 16:18 (KJV)
3. Giving to Get Right
People try to justify actions and make things right all the time.
A. Out of Obligation
Nobody likes to give because they feel obligated.
So I thought it necessary to urge the brothers to visit you in advance and finish the arrangements for the generous gift you had promised. Then it will be ready as a generous gift, not as one grudgingly given.
Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
II Cor 9:5 -7
B. You’re afraid to say “No”.
Sometimes it’s better to not give rather than to say you’ll do it not keep your word.
The Bible says to let your yes be yes, and your no, no Matthew 5:37.
We don’t necessarily have to give an excuse as to why we don’t want to do something.
If you don’t want to participate in gift giving, just say so.
As Christians we have to learn to “Just say no”
11 For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. 12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, Titus 2:11-12 (NIV)
C. Giving something that is not yours
We used to say, “You can’t give away something you do NOT have. But that statement is not necessarily true…
You can borrow something- People borrow money, use credit cards and go in to debt to give gifts.
You can “steal” to give.- People give away other peoples possessions as gifts. I once gave away wife’s new shirt to someone as a gift. Although the recipient was ecstatic my wife wasn’t very happy when she found out
Here’s How To Give Gifts with Good Motivations
Give Because You Love
Give gifts because you?love God and you care about someone.
Apply the Great Commandment- Love God, Love others
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’
The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
There is no commandment greater than these.
Mark 12:30-31 (NIV)
Give expecting nothing in return.
…Freely you have received, freely give.
Give Because God Gave
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
The real meaning of Christmas- Luke 2:1-20
1 And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. 3 So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.
4 Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife,[a] who was with child. 6 So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. 7 And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
8. Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And behold,[b] an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. 10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:
14 “Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”[c]
15 So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. 17 Now when they had seen Him, they made widely[d] known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. 18 And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.