We are entering the “giving season”.
Our hearts long to give. The core of traditional giving is to fulfill the physiological needs of people. We purchase the beautiful gifts, spending hours wrapping them for the perfect picture on Christmas morning. We collect items for food banks, make cookies for neighbors, and donating to our favorite charities. We give tangibly and it feels good.
Matthew 25:35-36 describes true giving:
I was hungry and you fed me,
I was thirsty and you gave me a drink,
I was homeless and you gave me a room,
I was shivering and you gave me clothes,
I was sick and you stopped to visit,
I was in prison and you came to me.
What if we looked beyond the physical and looked at the heart? What would you see?
Is your child HUNGRY for your attention, a hug, a compliment instead of constant correction and busyness?
Does your wife THIRST for you to show her that she is more important than your job, your hobby, or the newspaper you read while she cooks dinner and cleans the house?
Does your husband feel like a STRANGER in his own home – needing his home to be a refuge & sanctuary outside work, when it feels more like an empty hotel room most of the time?
Who is NAKED? The person who is hard to be around – acting inappropriately out of fear or shame. What does their heart really need? Isn’t it your words of affirmation and your covering of love?
Do you have a loved one or friend who is chronically SICK and feeling forgotten and discarded by society?
Who is your friend, mom, son, husband, brother or daughter who faces a PRISON of depression and needs a place of safety, prayer, and intervention?
Collecting items for food banks, make cookies for neighbors, and donating to our favorite charities may be a sacrifice of our time and money but what we really need this holiday season is a sacrifice of the heart.
A challenge to look beyond the outer appearance, actions, and words of those around us. A challenge to look beyond his or her physical needs. A challenge to see beyond the hunger, the thirst, the stranger, the naked, the sick, and the prisoner into the heart and soul of a person who was created by God for a great purpose. A challenge to surrender our own needs for the sake of another.
This is love. This is true sacrifice.