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Better to Give than Receive...
Sunday, December 11 2011

Some Things Always Remain True...

Here is a lesson that most of us should remember from childhood:

"...keep in mind the words of the Lord Jesus who himself said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'"  -Acts 20:35, NAB

During Advent, giving becomes a pretty common topic.  We spend a large amount of money each year to buy each other all of these wonderful gifts, and a large part of this goes toward our children, nieces, nephews, and grandchildren.  But, with all of this giving, are we teaching our children the right message?

For the past few years, it has been a topic of debate in my family.  We have been blessed enough to provide well for our families, and each child gets a gift from each one of their aunts and uncles.  Combine that with gifts from their parents, grandparents, and Santa Claus, of course, and the kids are receiving piles of toys each year.  But, do they really appreciate everything that they are receiving?

It seems to me that our children are learning more about receiving gifts than giving gifts.  Now, I do not want to be accused of being the "Grinch Who Stole Christmas," but maybe it's time that we begin to change things a bit.  Does a 6 year-old really need an Xbox?  Does a 9 year-old need a cell phone?  Does an 11 year-old need an $800 tablet computer?  Make all of the excuses you want, but you cannot convince me that they do.

Instead of spending all of that money on toys that your kids do not need, maybe there is a better place to spend the money.  If your paycheck is just burning a hole in your pocket, give money to the local food bank so a poor family can have a nice Christmas meal.  If your bank account has grown too large for your liking, then try buying some coats, gloves, and hats for the homeless.  I can think of many more ways to spend your money - much better ways than buying a laptop for your toddler.

As today's verse tells us, it is much better to give than to receive, but that does not mean that we should spoil our children.  I applaud your giving nature, but are you teaching your kids about giving or about receiving?  Let's show our kids what giving really means.  Have them help you collect money for the poor.  Ask them to help you distribute food to the hungry.  Expose them to the true reality of a homeless shelter.  We are born knowing how to receive, but only through love can we learn to give.  

The world is not short of people willing, waiting, and wanting to receive; what the world really needs is people willing to give - especially those willing to give until it hurts.

 

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