In the coming days, I will need to pull out the tape, scissors and festive wrapping paper. Every year I actually look forward to this project. I enjoy neatly wrapping each gift. As I do my thoughts float to each of my dear family members I am about to see.
Wrapping is as delightful as opening gifts to me. Knowing that this gift may bless another heart. Knowing that this gift is more than a thing wrapped in red and green. This is a gift, a piece for me given. Time, money, talent…whatever the gift it is a piece of something deep inside my heart.
Giving is not naturally easy for us. Givning is practiced. The more you give the easier it becomes. The more you practice trusting and letting go the more God fills your heart with joy, with peace.
Have you ever given a gift that wasn’t recieved well? It hurts doesn’t it? It is like a piece of you is rejected. Often times we want to take that rejection and stop practicing. We want to throw our hands in the air and say, “See God! Why do I even try? They don’t want my gift. They don’t want me!”
Is one time, two times or even seventy times enough for us to stop? Stop giving. Stop risking love for one another. If Jesus took our approach where would we be?
Sweet friends, this lays heavy on my heart. This cuts deep. So often I have missed opportunity out of my own pride of getting hurt. Is my heart safety more precious than the possibility of blessing a heart? And despite all my selfish fear I know that giving to another actually blesses me right back.
Jesus was rejected from the beginnning and is still being rejected today yet He did not and has not stopped giving of Himself. He has given ALL of Himself.
Can we try again? Can we continue to practice giving even when it feels risky? Can we trust that our God has something greater instore? That He can fill us in the giving whether accepted or not?
Acts 20:35 In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ” NIV
Matthew 18:21-22 Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times. ESV
Isaiah 53:3-5 He was despised and rejected— a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care. Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for his own sins! But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. NLT
1 John 4:9-10 God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. NLT