The intentions of giving

by Madalyn Ashworth

(Photo courtesy of Great Performers Academy).

2 Corinthians 9:6-8 talks about the cheerful giver. “The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work” (English Standard Version). Gifts to one another should be out of the goodness of the hearts and not the obligation to fulfill societal needs. 

The Christmas spirit of giving goes beyond the realm of family and friends and extends to the poor. Matthew 19:21 says, “Jesus said to him, ‘If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.’” 

The standard of perfection to Christ is to give willingly and freely to the poor. To give everything is what God would expect of the best of his followers. Giving willingly sounds pleasant and simple until it is time to do it. It is easy to think of the desires and needs of oneself above the needs and desires of others. As a college student, giving is not easy when there are big college bills to pay. It is essential to remain submissive to the will of God and to give based on what he lays on our hearts and not what our desires are. God always makes a way. 

Giving does not have to be about money but rather about the thoughtfulness behind it. It is easy to “buy out” and get something simple and expensive than to get something that the receiver of the gift would appreciate. It truly is better to give than to receive once one has selected a gift that effort and thought was put into. I cannot wait to give my family and friends the presents that I buy them because it is satisfying to know that the perfect gift was selected. 

An obligation is the worst yet most functional form of kindness. It is all too easy to forget the significance of people until a birthday or holiday causes a glance at the big picture to induce a filled stocking or wrapped present. Christmas obligates celebrators to give to loved ones and show appreciation to those who are deserving of it. What causes the individual to give is derived from love, appreciation, or obligation. One must ask themself over this next holiday season “Why am I giving? What is my true intention? How would Christ give?”

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