Giving From the Heart
Wishing all Daily Encounter readers a very Merry and God-blessed Christmas!
"The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart."1
I recall reading about a missionary in Africa who taught the nationals that Christians gave each other gifts on Christ's birthday as an expression of their joy. A student of this missionary gave his teacher a beautiful seashell as a gift. When asked where he had discovered such an extraordinary shell, the native said he had walked many miles to a certain bay, the only place where these shells could be found.
The missionary was deeply moved and told the young man how much he appreciated his gift, to which the native replied, "Long walk, part of gift."
This indeed is a gift from the heart with a pure motive. I'm not sure all our giving (including mine) is with pure motives, as there are all sorts of reasons why we give. However, the only true giving is that which comes from the heart with a pure motive. Sadly, sometimes some giving is manipulative; that is, it's giving to get which isn't giving at all. For instance, if I keep giving gifts to my boss as a means to get a promotion, that's not giving. It's manipulating.
It is reported that an English nobleman just before his death said, "What I spent, I had. What I kept, I lost. What I gave, I have." When motives are pure this is true. In all of our giving to God, may it always be from a generous and grateful heart in thanksgiving to God for the most precious and profound gift of all time—the gift of His Son, Jesus, who gave his life to pay the penalty for all your sins and mine, at Christmas 2,000 years ago.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to learn the joy of giving and be a cheerful giver—from the heart with pure motives—not only of my resources but also of myself, first to you and then to others. So help me God. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
1. 1 Samuel 16:7 (NIV).