Instead, bless – that’s your job, to bless. You’ll be a blessing and also get a blessing. 1 Peter 3:9-10 (MSG)
My husband is a master gift giver. No matter what the occasion may be, he always surprises me. He makes a sport of it, and each year he strives to outdo himself. The gifts are not always expensive, but he works to find a personalized gift that meets a specific need that I have or that he knows I will enjoy.
We live in a culture that is cultivating consumerism. At Christmas, every advertisement is beautifully created to convince you at an emotional level that if you receive the perfect gift, you will be forever filled with joy. The advertisers are so skillful that they have even made me cry during diaper commercials!
My husband is an excellent gift giver because he doesn’t fall prey to the culture of consumerism. Instead of mindlessly purchasing the latest hot item, he carefully listens as I mention an item I may need or an activity I want to try. He then lovingly and thoughtfully selects unique gifts that he knows I will enjoy.
People often say that it is better to give than to receive. However, when my husband gives with a heart of joy, he receives much in return. 2 Corinthians 9:7 says, “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (ESV) When my husband gives gifts, he is joyful because he loves seeing my surprise and joy.
1 Peter 3:9-10 says, “instead, bless – that’s your job, to bless. You’ll be a blessing and also get a blessing.” (MSG). Giving as God intended creates the opposite of a culture of consumerism. When we give with an open heart and open hands, we will often find that we do not need or want as many material things as we originally thought. We find that even when we give sacrificially, we are able to live contentedly without the money or the gift that was given.
Giving reminds us that, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” (James 1:17, ESV). Giving reminds us that we do not “own” anything, but we are merely caretakers of the blessings that God has given us. Giving releases our dependence and ties to material wealth and goods, freeing us to receive God’s perfect love.
This Christmas, remember that a heart that openly gives also receives immeasurable blessings. Do not give in to a culture that cultivates consumerism. Instead, give cheerfully and thoughtfully. Then, you will know in your soul that God is pleased because you have given with an open and cheerful heart.
Jesus, Thank You giving the perfect gift of salvation. Protect my heart, mind, and soul from a culture that is cultivating consumerism. Remind me that when I give with an open and loving heart, I am blessed. As I give, fill my heart with Your perfect love. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.