Start Sacrificial Love in the Heart: Rethinking Generosity During Christmas

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Start Sacrificial Love in the Heart: Rethinking Generosity During Christmas

I have a confession: I haven’t been very generous with my money lately. And although this is something I’m not proud of, a lot of my recent giving hasn’t been monetary. I’ve come to realize that it’s sometimes better for me to give in other ways. However, this is no excuse for me to be tightfisted.

One reason I haven’t opened up my wallet in a while is because I’ve given away money under pressure several times in the past. It’s not too difficult to guilt-trip me. What God isn’t calling us to do is give out of guilt. While I believe that spontaneous giving can come from the Spirit, the Bible says that we shouldn’t give reluctantly or out of compulsion (2 Cor. 9:7). I also haven’t been giving as much as I should because past encounters have made me selfish and stubborn. I’ve given things away only to receive little appreciation in return. It’s tempting to close my heart in these instances, but God has been teaching me that giving in a Christ-like way means giving sacrificially no matter what the result may be.

What’s crucial to remember is that the heart behind the gift has a great deal of importance. When giving in any capacity, I have been reminding my heart to be in the right place. On many occasions, my willingness to give resulted in using my time, energy and resources in a God-honouring manner to build others up.

Generosity goes hand in hand with sacrificial love. It’s important to be generous because Jesus has given us everything. I know God has been generous to me, and it’s so easy for me to forget that I was once a beggar in desperate need of salvation. Someone in my BLG recently reminded me that a lot of us, myself included, have the illusion that we’re providing for ourselves when God is the one who meets our daily needs. God’s grace is the real reason I even have the ability to produce wealth.

Still, I’m often reluctant to give when generosity requires real sacrifice. Working full-time makes it easier to spend my evenings and weekends relaxing instead of serving. Even when I use my free time well, my unwillingness to forgo non-essential comforts manifests in my attitude while helping people out. I recently visited a friend to help clean her living room and kitchen. There were only a few clean spots in sight. When she offered me a seat, I decided to be very honest. I declined her offer and proceeded to comment on her house’s state of disarray. “I wish I could hold a mirror up to your face right now. Stop acting like you’re above this,” she retorted. Her response cut to the heart. Although she was a bit harsh, she had a point: I’ve stomached more repulsive things in the past. I then strapped on a pair of gloves and cleaned without complaining for the rest of the afternoon. Despite the fact that her kitchen was even more unclean than her chairs, I kept going because I had been humbled. This is just one example of how I’m starting to change my ways as God softens my heart.

This Advent season, let us pray that we would have hearts willing to sacrifice. Real sacrifice requires leaving our comfort zones, which is something I’m still learning to do. If we live cushy lives, we’re not giving much up. As preposterous as it may seem to the outside world, there should be joy in the midst of the discomfort that comes with sacrifice. May God grant us discernment so that we would see the needs in our community and in our church so we can give accordingly. Let us contribute to God-honouring causes out of genuine love. And let’s not limit our giving to the Christmas season as millions of people tend to do: may our hearts continuously be in the right place so we can give cheerfully all year round.


Joshua Francis