Monday, December 20, 2010

Give a "Grace Gift" this Christmas +


At church yesterday (we have gone back to the church where i grew up, but more on that later), our pastor spoke on GIVING. He called the sermon "True Life" because it is definitely more blessed to give than to receive & you are not really TRULY living life if you are not giving to others. He talked about how giving is in God's very nature...

John 3:16
For God so loved the world that HE GAVE...

1 Timothy 6:13, 17-18
In the sight of God, WHO GIVES life to everything...Command those who are rich in this present world not to become arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, WHO RICHLY PROVIDES US with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous & willing to share.

And he talked about how we are also called to be more generous... as you can tell in the verse above. He talked about how "those who are rich" applies to any of us who live in America. We are truly RICH by the world's standards.  And he also shared this proverb, which i love:

Proverbs 11:24-25
One person gives freely, yet gains even more.
Another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty.
A generous person will prosper,
whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.


He talked about how there are three different types of gifts. I absolutely loved this & it is so true!

1 - A Gift-for-a-Gift Gift
2 - A Gift-for-a-Favor Gift
3 - A Grace Gift

The first made me laugh. He talked about how in his family for Christmas they draw names. And they basically just exchange gift cards. "here you go" "oh thank you so much - & here YOU go!" "Ohhhh THANK you!" HA! It made me laugh. He said of course there is nothing wrong with that, but a lot of the time we are giving to someone who we know will also be giving us something. I know that isn't necessarily the REASON we give (to get something) but it is still true...if no one ever gave gifts for Christmas, then we probably wouldn't either.

The second is like when you give your boss a gift at Christmas time, hoping he or she will remember you at raise time! :) Stuff like that.

But the third is what he really focused on & that is A GRACE GIFT.

A Grace Gift is an unrepayable gift.

Luke 14:12-14
Then Jesus said to his host, "When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, your relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back & so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.

Of course he isn't saying you CAN'T invite your family or friends or neighbors...but he is saying to ALSO invite those who cannot repay you. Maybe they aren't literally blind or crippled, but maybe they are in spirit. Give to those who would never be able to repay you.


Things the Magi taught me:
1. Give an unexpected gift.
2. Give with genuine joy.
3. Give your BEST.
4. Give a gift that will last.
5. Give your gift now!

He talked about how your Grace Gift doesn't have to be material (though it certainly can be). How it can be as simple as a hug or a letter or a phone call. How you can let them know who it is from or do it anonymously. How it can be to someone you know or to a perfect stranger.  What is important is that it is unrepayable & unexpected! Pastor Terry challenged us to give a grace gift this Christmas season. He encouraged us to add a "grace gift" to the other gifts we give this year. I have gifts wrapped for my family, but i am wanting to add a grace gift to those things!

Give the 'gift of good memories' - meaning, a gift that the receiver will never forget!



I am so excited & longing to give lots of grace gifts over the holidays & in the new year. Maybe a letter to someone who wouldn't expect to hear from me. Maybe a phone call (a challenge for me because i hate the phone!). Maybe a hug or a lunch date. Maybe a homemade meal or some groceries. Maybe something material that i know they want but would never expect.

I will leave you with one more verse. Acts 3:5-6
So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them. Then Peter said, "Silver & Gold i do not have. But what i do have, i give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk." Maybe Peter didn't have money to give, but he gave something FAR more meaningful!

I am not sure what my grace gifts this year will be. What i do know is that God is always giving to me, wayyy more than i could ever repay Him. And it is always unexpected too (mainly because i forget that he ALWAYS meets my needs - and many times, my wants too!!). I am looking forward to finding ways to give grace gifts in the upcoming year.

What are some Grace Gifts you would like to give?
images from we heart it.

5 comments:

  1. I love this post!!!! Thanks for the inspiration and though provoking ideas. I have really enjoyed reading your blog the past few months. Wishing you and your hubby a wonderful Christmas from cold and snowy PA. Becky

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  2. Loved this, Mel. I'm reading this just before I start my day, and it really encouraged me. Thanks dear!

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  3. This was an encouragement for me! So glad you posted it!!!

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  4. Absolutely love this....it really encouraged me,thanks:)

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  5. I loooove to give and the most fun things to give are the unexpected. I don't enjoy giving to people who just give me something back. It's not so fun.

    The gifts I am most excited about giving this year are to the people who have no idea one is coming. And today we gave a nice tip to our garbage man with a note that said "thanks for making our kids' day every Tuesday!" My kids love the garbage truck and therefore think the garbage man is super cool and we watch him every week.

    Anyways... what I most dislike is when I give an unexpected gift and the person says "Oh you didn't have to do this!" I KNOW! That's why I did it! :)

    Great post!

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