The holidays can be a busy time full of family events, food preparation, holiday shopping, etc. In the seasonal noise and hectic planning, don’t miss the opportunities to build family generosity intentionally into the lives of those you love. Here are a few biblical principles from passages of Scripture related to giving to use for discussion with your family as you approach the end of the year.
- God blesses us so that we can bless others.
This is most clearly spelled out in God’s set of promises to Abram, who later became Abraham. In Genesis 12:2, God told Abram, “I will bless you … so that you will be a blessing.” We each have blessings that we have received from God, whether those be time, talents, financial resources, or family. Reflection Question: In response to God’s generosity towards us, how can we share these gifts with others?
- The answers are nearly limitless, but here are a few examples:
- Volunteer at your local soup kitchen
- Donate your skills or expertise to a local nonprofit
- Give financially to one or more of the numerous worthy causes around you
- Share your family with someone who doesn’t have one nearby over the holidays
- God lends resources to us, and we can lend them back by helping others.
It is easy to act as though the blessings mentioned above belong to us. But really all things belong to God. He has entrusted us many things as stewards (Matt. 25:14-30), but He does not relinquish ownership of what He gives us. According to Proverbs 19:17, when we are generous to the poor, we lend back to the Lord, and He will repay that gift. Looking forward to that “return on investment” is not the only reason to give, it is so we can be an encouragement in the process. Reflection Question: What causes do you want to encourage and pay forward God’s gifts to?
- “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” These words of Jesus, quoted by Paul in Acts 20:35, are the epitome of Christianity. The Lord exemplified this for us when He sacrificed His very life for us on the cross. This model set an example for us all to live with sacrificial generosity. This way of life is an even greater blessing to the donor than to the recipient. As in the above points, not all giving must be of a financial nature. There are a multitude of opportunities to bless those in your community who are in need. Reflection Question: What is a story of sacrifice in your family where you have learned this principle of selfless generosity?
- Generosity should be a cheerful decision.
As Paul says in 2 Corinthians 9:7, we should all give as we decide in our hearts, “not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” The previous verse (9:6) points out that barebones sowing results in barebones reaping; while abundant sowing leads to abundant reaping! Reflection Question: In what season can you give your gifts most abundantly?
It is a cycle of blessing upon blessing. What can you do to perpetuate that cycle in this holiday and year-end season? Whether that is tangibly making contributions to organizations or having important conversations with your family about generosity and giving, we would encourage you to invest this holiday season intentionally in spreading the blessings you have received. You will be blessed in return.