Holiday Giving

Holiday cheer with UPS man

Today at John’, I would like to tell you of the lovely experience of my exposure.  It’s a holiday tale, concerning my grand gestures of generosity and gratitude . . . um, well, not really.

Every year at Shulamite Ministries, we give gifts to those who have faithfully served us throughout the year—the postmaster, postal carrier, UPS and FedEx drivers, who faithfully pick up and deliver our many packages all year round, the couple who collects our gobs of trash, etc.  It’s a gesture of holiday giving to say, “Merry Christmas and thank you for your service.”  Nice, right? Well, let’s go further.

This year, I wandered away from the Spirit’s direction and rolled into obligation.  So, instead of listening to the Living Spirit in this holiday, I hopped on the back of the Fourth horse of the Apocalypse. What a ride!

So, lets look to a particular in this adventure.  This year we gave each person a gift card to a restaurant or Walmart.  Now, typically we leave the card out for the recipient, and like the proverbial milk and cookies left for Santa, they disappear without a by-your-leave. But this year was a little different.

In the case of one of our drivers, I gave out of obligation.  I didn’t feel any leading to give him a gift, but because I was doing it for the others, I felt like I should for him as well.  Logic, logic, logic—warning, now leaving the Spirit!

Well, the day came to give him the gift, and he sat in the truck and sent a helper to deliver our packages. We gave the gift to the helper and said “Could you give this to Bill (not his real name)?” The helper smiled and said sure, promptly running to the truck and handing over the gift.  And off the truck went.  No “thank you,” no wave, no “you chump!” – just gone.  As you can imagine, I didn’t respond well. I got angry, and the Lord showed me why.

I gave out of obligation, and then I expected Bill to respond. Yep, he was indebted to me because I felt obligated to him.  You see, I didn’t give it to the Lord; I gave it to myself. And because I gave it to myself, I resented the fact that I didn’t get what was due me and what I was buying. If I had done it in the will of God, then I would’ve been satisfied with just being in His will, regardless of any response. His will would’ve been my satisfaction. Additionally, God would’ve been my reward because it was given unto Him.  Yet that’s not what happened. I gave it with grand expectations of Bill’s simple “thank you.” But I have no right to expect even the most common expression of gratitude.

In contrast, when I gave the gift God told me to give to Larry, another UPS guy, the response was gracious and filled with gratitude. It was a ministry of God giving to him and blessing me for being the vehicle. Larry was elated, while Bill was unresponsive and unappreciative. The difference is the Will of God versus my will.

So the lesson here is compulsion, obligation and duty is EVIL – no matter how nice it appears. The Spirit is life and He multiplies His life in even the smallest gesture.  Ah, I hope to keep this lesson for the rest of my life.

This is the true gift:

The WILL of GOD reveals the passion of the Father,
which brings forth the Life of His SON!

Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
2 Corinthians 9:7 ESV

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    • Tina

      Great insight to walking in Christ which brings the fruit of life. Anything other is death!

    • Irene

      John, John, John, must you keep meddling in my business? And yes, I had to read in Revelation to recall the nature of the fourth horse. Once again it boils down to choosing: Life or death.

    • Susan

      Your right John! Expecting from anyone other than Father is a setup for failure with disappointment and anger ensuing.

    • Wanda

      All I can say is “Ouch”. You keep hitting all my tender spots. Thank you

    • Sam

      What a LESSON…

      “Compulsion, obligation and duty is EVIL.”

    • Tina

      I have been struggling with gifting giving my entire life. It has been a family dynamic/expectations that I have sought to break. This is the core. I had stopped giving out of expectation, stopped complying with the expectations from others but this is the final nail on the coffin!!

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