Eternal perspectives by Sally Bair
‘Tis the season to give
Nowadays the opportunities to give toward a worthy cause seem endless. We can drop coins in the Salvation Army buckets, send money to a non-profit that gives goats to poor people in Nigeria or help clothe an orphan in Mexico. Surrounded by so many needs, we may find it hard to choose. But once we choose, we often feel better for our giving.
Research shows, in fact, that giving to someone in need releases oxytocin, a chemical in our brain that causes us to feel warmth toward others. And once our body produces more oxytocin by our compassionate act of giving, it spurs us to give even more, which produces more … you get the picture of the cumulative effect of giving.
We feel joy when we offer our money, time or talents for the benefit of those less fortunate. The very act of giving can change our mood from grumpy or sadness into a big smile. Giving also can fight loneliness by connecting us with others. And, of course, cheerful giving benefits us spiritually.
Giving is a godly act of sacrifice. The Bible has plenty to say about it being a discipline as well as a spiritual benefit. “He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Corinthians 9:6-7)
The author, Paul, is telling us that giving is like sowing seed, with the amount of the harvest determined by the amount of the seed sown. When we give, God is able to give us more so we can keep giving even more. He is generous in providing us with our own needs when we give others what they need.
God’s generosity knows no bounds. It began with Creation and has continued throughout the ages. We see it especially in the gift of His Son, Jesus. During this holy season, we do well to spend time meditating not only on His miraculous birth, but on His ultimate sacrifice on the cross for our sins. We find it hard to imagine such a gift!
We have the special privilege and calling to give out of the abundance of our hearts. Just as Jesus did and still does.
Lord, thank You for Your unending generosity. May we never take it for granted. May we, instead, follow Your example with open hearts, especially during the season of Jesus’ birth. In His name we pray, amen.