Connie, my wife of 27 years, lives her life with the joy of giving. You may be familiar with Gary Chapman’s book, The Five Love Languages. In this work, Chapman identifies five ways people receive and give love: words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service and physical touch.
Connie has all five of the love languages — but receiving gifts may be one of her top ones. I know this because she loves to give gifts.
She works hard to find things that the people she loves would like to have and she always finds bargains. She does this not only at Christmas time, but year-round. Connie loves to find items that her loved ones care about and purchase those and give them.
She has a hard time waiting to give the gifts.
Connie is a living example of a statement from Jesus found in Acts 20:35 where it says, “In every way I’ve shown you that it is necessary to help the weak by laboring like this and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, because he said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.'”
How can we give to others, especially as we approach the Christmas season, and live out the joy of giving? Here are five suggestions:
1. Give to a family or person in need. While no one of us can help every person who may be struggling financially, each of us may be able to help one person. Do for one person or family this Christmas what you wish you could do for everyone. Pray and ask God to show you a need in your church, neighborhood or workplace and experience joy by giving to help meet that need.
2. Give to a worthy ministry opportunity. Kentucky Baptists have numerous opportunities in the state to support worthy causes. Whether it is sponsoring a child through Sunrise Children’s Services or filling a backpack through your association’s backpack ministry, there will be many worthy and legitimate needs available for us to consider. Prayerfully pick one for you or your family and enjoy the giving.
3. Give to your church. Many believers enjoy giving a special gift to help meet the needs of their church at this time of year. Ask your pastor if there is a special need or project that you and your family could assist with — over and above your tithe. Do not worry about the amount, but instead focus on helping to meet a need in your church’s ministry.
4. Give to missions. Kentucky Baptists are all-in when it comes to missions giving, and this time of year is no different. We are in the season when we recognize the far-reaching impact of the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering to fund international missions. Prayerfully consider what your gift will be to missions this year and take great joy in knowing that your gift is helping to deliver the gospel to many who may have never heard it.
5. Give the gospel to your neighbors. Consider finding a way this year to give the good news of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus to those who are close to you but far from God. This Christmas season many of your neighbors will be open to considering the claims of Christ and the message of Jesus. Consider giving the greatest gift of all this Christmas. Giving the gospel brings great joy.
May the Lord direct your steps in the best channels of giving this Christmas season and may you experience the joy of giving.
Todd Gray is executive director-treasurer of the Kentucky Baptist Convention.