The Gift of Giving
● By Style
With the passing of Thanksgiving and the approach of Christmas, we find ourselves in the heart of the holiday season…the time of year when the underlying theme is giving.
The secret to giving is connected to the simplicity of understanding how truly blessed we are. True giving flows from a sense of gratitude for what we have. And in all honesty, we have a lot to be thankful for.
The greatest miracle is seldom in the provision we make toward meeting the need in the life of another, but in the honesty of an introspective look into our own hearts. This introspection affords us time to pause and be thankful that we have the opportunity to bless and give to others.
Recently, I have had three of these introspective encounters. The first time, I was stopped in the turn lane when a man walked by with his cardboard request for assistance. I thought, “I don’t have any cash,” but the Lord said: “You have almost $10 (in change) in your ashtray.” It’s funny how amnesia can be selective. Needless to say, the ashtray is now empty. The next encounter was just a couple of days later with a young lady and me, again in the turn lane. I had cash this time, but I also had plans. Her request suddenly outweighed my plans.
My third opportunity came while walking back to the car after being treated to a wonderful meal by a dear friend. I had been instructed to order anything I wanted from the menu; I chose the ribs and they were outstanding – more than I could finish. We were almost to our car, leftovers in hand, when we encountered a man sitting outside of a local bar in an inebriated state of bliss. He set his eyes upon my container of culinary delight and announced: “Look, they brought me dinner!” It was as if his words were connected to a vacuum that sucked my ribs into his hands. Without even a change of stride, the transfer took place. I was peacefully left with the thought that what had been more than enough for me had suddenly become just enough for him.
This year, our faith family is partnering with our faith community to provide night shelters for the homeless. After a night of dry and warm comfort, they will return to their homeless environment, regardless of the weather conditions. That reality – of how blessed I am to have somewhere to call home – has hit me the hardest. I sleep every night in a warm home with a loving wife and family, under a roof that will not leak. I have transportation, food in the house, and all of my basic needs are being met.
I don’t know the stories of the man and the woman at the intersections, the man on the bench, or the homeless in our community, but I do know my own story and that I truly have so much to be thankful for. How can I not be moved by giving to others, especially at this time of year?
My prayer for you is that in a brief moment of introspection you too will see how truly blessed you are, and that the “little things” will regain their proper place of value in your life. May you find the joy in knowing that giving is the key that unlocks your miracle!
Don Pritchard is the pastor at Solid Rock Faith Center in Diamond Springs. For more information, visit solidrockfaithcenter.com.