In a quandary over how to expend your meager budget? Here are my 2009 all-time Top 5 ways to give, in descending order:
5) Give something lasting in honor of someone, such as a donation to a charity like World Vision in your recipient’s name, and they will know that a child has clean water and food this Christmas. When I was a kid, I knew it was always appropriate to plant a tree in Israel in someone’s honor. Just don’t copy George Costanza from Seinfeld and make up a fake charity like The Human Fund.
4) It’s always nice to get what you want rather than something useless. Choose something from their Christmas list, or ask them what they’re saving up for. When I was younger, I thought my Gentile neighbors were audacious in the lengthy lists posted on their bedroom doors for their parents. But you know, how many years of waxy Russell Stover chocolates and Walgreens colognes does it take to realize that it’s nice to gift something someone actually wants?!
3) One of my favorites – something not on a list – someone just knows you well enough to know your likes & longings. Every year my wife buys me a new Get Fuzzy cartoon “day at a glance” calendar. It’s not because I often lose track of the date – my iPhone tells me that every time I look at it. It’s not even a surprise, I’m pretty sure I’m getting one this year. It’s that she knows me. I love being known. Don’t you? (I admit that some of us are more work than others. My dog is really easy to shop for.)
2) Time. Sorry if you think it’s cliché, but it’s true. I’m a dad. My kids can talk all day about the awesome new video game they want, but they’d rather me sit down with them and play Legos, or Monopoly, or throw a ball, or just have me watch them draw than have the latest and greatest. And it’s not just kids who value your time. Or your spouse. Your closest friends love spending time with you. And then there are people no one is spending time with – they would be blessed if you’d sit down and ask them a few questions and listen to their stories. Is there someone lonely in your church or office who you could give a great gift by inviting them over or buying them coffee?
1) If you think giving is better than receiving, you should reconsider. The ultimate giver, Jesus Christ, gave His life so that you could know Him, experience forgiveness and taste eternity. Who do you know who hasn’t entered into a relationship with the living God? The best gift you could ever give them is the Gospel so that they can receive Christ – our Immanuel, God with us. Put aside your fears and excuses, and share the love of the Messiah with someone yet to meet the Lord. Make it the best Christmas ever, and help someone celebrate the arrival of the incarnate God with eternal life! It fits everyone’s budget, because the price has already been paid.
If no one has ever explained the Gospel to you, or you have a question about how to share the Gospel, please get in touch through the comment form under “Contact us with questions.”