So now that I’ve chastised society for giving the wrong gifts, too infrequently, with the wrong attitude, and to the wrong people, I’ll explain why I think we do all of these things. And how trusting God with everything can solve this.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take.” Proverbs 3:5-6
Really think about that verse. Read it a few times over.
Now, let me ask you: When was the last time you truly lived by this verse?
For me, I can only name a few times I have let God guide every detail of a decision. Those were hard moments in my life. It’s hard to give up control, push aside emotions and instincts of my own, and step out of my comfort zone where I must cling to trust.
My favorite Hillsong song Oceans goes, “You called me out upon the waters, the great unknown where feet may fail… Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders, let me walk upon the water wherever you may call me.”
This song’s description of fully trusting Jesus is spot-on. Handing over comfort for whatever God may hand me is like stepping into a “great unknown where feet may fail.” Yep. It makes me nervous just to think about.
I think this is why we struggle with giving the way we are called to give. We have instead conformed to a worldly (and comfortable) standard of giving (explained in my previous post).
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2
Giving with joy and selflessness to “the hungry or thirsty or a stranger, needing clothes or sick or in prison (Matthew 25:44)” seems to me one of those “good and acceptable and perfect” wills of God that we, as Christians, are called to.
But, like I said, it’s hard. I get it. There are so many things holding us back: fear of these “kinds” of people, a lack of confidence in what we will say to them, not knowing where to go, not knowing what or how much to give. It’s true; we probably don’t have the answers to these questions off the top of our heads.
That’s where trusting God comes in.
I believe that when we trust God in this aspect of our life and genuinely say, “Here God, just show me what to do and I’ll do it,” the answers will come. God will expose us to security and peace and rewards we have never known. He will guide us where to go and who to give to, what to say to them and how to share God’s grace with them.
Is something still mentally holding you back? Maybe the biggest fear is losing our own personal comfort, specifically financial and material comfort, in place of giving to those in need. This might mean foregoing new things for yourself this Christmas, maybe it means losing a portion of your salary that you think you may need. Stop worrying.
“Worry implies that we don’t quite trust that God is big enough, powerful enough, or loving enough to take care of what’s happening in our lives,” writes Francis Chan in Crazy Love.
I think this issue of giving the wrong way during the holiday season has a simple solution. Trust God. Just do it.
Here’s my final challenge: Pray about how you can give this holiday season, actually listen to God and trust he will provide, then do it. Give to someone who needs food more than your friend needs socks this holiday season. Then try it again next month. Maybe try it a few other times this year, whenever you feel God tugging on your heart.
What you lose monetarily will be multiplied in God’s great spiritual rewards. I promise. And so does God.
“Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed.” Proverbs 19:17