The Gift of Giving
3 examples of generosity from which we can learn
Last weekend, Wes and I were waiting in line for the car wash, and when the vehicle in front of us finished, the driver announced, “I got it started for you!” As we pulled ahead, we realized that the driver had paid for our car wash. What an awesome, unexpected blessing!
Later in the week, our neighbours invited us over for tea and cake, to celebrate their 49th wedding anniversary. We were so touched that they wanted to share their special day with us, and that they wanted to give to us.
The gift of giving is a blessing, regardless of the type of giving. Some people give of their time, while others give of their finances, and some give of their talents. Regardless of how you give, giving is a gift.
There are so many examples of the gift of giving that we can learn from in the Bible. Whether Old Testament or New, we can all learn from the examples of generosity in the Bible.
Consider the parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10. He is a primary example that the gift of giving doesn’t have to be about money. Beyond financial giving, the Good Samaritan saved a life, a life that others went out of their way to avoid. He gave his time, he gave of himself, and he even risked his own reputation to give to another. “But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him.” (Luke 10:33) Even the act of compassion for someone else is an example of the gift of giving. Compassion! Showing sympathy and a caring heart toward another is one way of giving to someone. We can all be challenged to give the gift of compassion.
We can learn from the example of the poor widow in Mark 12. The poor widow taught us that you don’t have to have a lot in order to give. “For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.” (Mark 12:44) The widow gave everything she had, literally. She only had two mites, and she gave them. Perhaps you already give regularly to a cause or through tithing at church. We can all learn from the poor widow what true giving really is. Giving a lot isn’t a prerequisite to the gift of giving. Even when you think you don’t have anything worth giving, you do. Give in faith.
And what about Zachhaeus, the money collector! Yes, that’s right. We learn from Zacchaeus that the gift of giving is something that can be learned. The man who was famous for taking money had an incredible turnaround when he came to know Christ. Zacchaeus, who started out as a tax collector, turned around in faith and turned into a giver! “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold.” (Luke 19:8) Perhaps your track record isn’t representative of the gift of giving. Anyone can change; you just have to purpose in your heart. As C.S. Lewis once said, “You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.”
The gift of giving doesn’t have to be overly elaborate. Sometimes the simple and quiet gift of giving has the biggest blessing of all.