During his freshman year at College, a student, due to commitments and circumstances was unable to get home for Christmas. Thinking about his father and Christmas morning, the young man decided to send to his father a set of inexpensive cuff links through the post with this accompanying note: “Dear Dad, Happy Christmas! I know that this isn’t much, but it is all you could afford.”
Now, there is a young man who needs to learn the words of our Lord Jesus, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). In these words, Jesus challenges us to be givers more than takers, to find our happiness in making others happy through our charity and benevolence. According to Jesus, to have a merry little Christmas involves cultivating a big heart of generosity. Acts 20:35 teaches us that blessing, joy and true happiness comes to those who understand that you get more than you give when you give more than you get. The British leader Winston Churchill wisely said, “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” Giving, not getting, is the good life, sharing not storing is the better way.
Now that is countercultural and counterintuitive! Our consumer driven society preaches that the more you have, and the more you accumulate, the better off you will be, and the better off you will feel. But that is not true, and King Solomon tells us that straight up in the book of Ecclesiastes. He found that the more you have materially, the less satisfied you become; the more worries you have, the more people that will chase you; the more you have to lose, the more you leave behind (Eccles. 5:10-15). We need to remember that in God’s kingdom opposites attract, holy contradictions make the most sense, and less is more. The blessed life according to Christ is found in enriching others, determining to live on less so that others might have more, and impoverishing yourself to a greater degree to help the poor and the lost.
Do you know why it is more blessed to give than to receive? First, you will never look more like the Lord Jesus and you will never make the gospel more beautiful than when you give to others in need. Christ’s life and death, and His life after death, is all about enriching others (2 Cor. 8:9; Matt. 20:28; Heb. 7:25. 9:24). The gospel itself is all about God’s giving to the world in Christ (John 3:16; Rom. 8:32). Second, the emotion of joy accompanies giving to others (Acts 20:35; 2 Cor. 9:7). The mind grows by what it receives; the heart grows by what it gives. Third, you will invariably find the boomerang effect of generous giving. God tends to bless those who bless others. We shovel out and God shovels in, and His shovel is always bigger (Prov. 11:24-25; 22:8-9). Fourth, in giving to others you will lay up treasure in heaven (Matt. 6:19-21; 1 Tim. 6:18-19). Jesus wants us to know that our money can be touched with immortality when given to gospel ends. We cannot take our money with us, but we can send it ahead through gospel generosity and broad benevolence!
Have yourself a merry little Christmas by cultivating a big heart of generosity!