The Dilemma

December 11, 2013
by Lynne Phipps

2 Corinthians 8:12b – If you are really eager to give, then it isn't important how much you have to give. God wants you to give what you have, not what you haven't. (TLB)

As the Christmas season approaches and I scan both the list of people I would like to give gifts to and also my bank account balance, it is easy for me to feel discouraged. Perhaps you are experiencing a similar dilemma and wondering, as I am, how to reconcile the two.

In 2 Corinthians 8, it would seem that the Christians of Corinth were facing a similar financial challenge. They had begun giving with eagerness and enthusiasm to help the development of Christianity throughout the region, but something had occurred, and their giving had not been completed. Just what happened, we don't know. Perhaps the church fell on hard times. Maybe their wealthiest patron died or left, or there were job layoffs within their midst. Whatever the case, Paul was writing to them and encouraging them to follow through on what they had begun in regards to their generosity. He also reminded them of this very important aspect of giving when he wrote:

God wants you to give what you have, not what you haven't.

And isn't this really what true giving should be all about? Not giving expensively or lavishly out of what we don't have and ending up in debt or regret, but giving out of what we have. All of us have something to give, for God has blessed each Christian with spiritual gifts and talents, a truth that is well summed up in the popular Christmas song, The Little Drummer Boy. Though he had nothing in the way of material wealth, he gave out of what he had, not what he didn't have. He gave of himself, of his talent, by playing his drum for the new-born Babe.

In light of this, I have made a decision and set myself the task of sorting through the treasure trove of the gifts and talents God has blessed me with, to pick and choose the most appropriate Christmas gift I have for each and every person on my gift list. Perhaps it will be a cookie treat basket for one, or a small stained-glass mosaic for another one's window, or a family photo with a hand-written letter, or a loaf of fresh bread once a week for a month, or an invitation to Sunday dinner, or … . And so my list goes, and my dilemma has been resolved. Now how about yours?

Prayer: Father God, we thank You for the Christmas gift of love which You gave to all mankind out of the depths of Yourself. We bless You and praise Jesus, and we pray that this Christmas, the greatest gifts that we give to others will be based not on what we don't have, but on what we do have. In Christ's name, we pray. Amen.

About the author:

Lynne Phipps <lynnephipps@hotmail.com>
Atlin, British Columbia, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Wonderful words of encouragement Lynne. God bless.


    Thank you for the gift you share with PCC Daily readers all year long. It is much appreciated.


    Dear Lynne,
    Good thought for Christmas.
    Blessings.


    Excellent message Lynne. Coming from the heart, those are the gifts which are always most precious.
    Blessings.


    This devotional really touched me and makes such great sense to me. Its not the giving but our love that is most important. Thank you for this.
    (Nova Scotia)


    Lovely message, Lynne. I hope that many read this and realize the giving is not about huge monetary value; it is often the gifts we make that are most enjoyed.
    I wish you and yours a truly blessed Christmas.


    Thank you Lynne for your very timely reminder. So many folks have wonderful gifts they can share with very little expense to themselves, but which would provide a lot of meaning for the recipient. Bless you this Christmas.


    Great idea, especially for older folk who have many lovely small treasures that they are not using as they entertain less. These would be a delight to young folks who haven’t the extra money to buy these things at this time.
    Blessings.


    Dear Lynne,
    My sentiments, exactly. With the world so hung up with materialistic things, it’s refreshing to hear this message. Thank you for writing it. Merry Christmas to you and yours as we celebrate His birth.


    Lynne,
    I’ll take the SUNDAY Dinner!
    Great ideas. Whatever we do with LOVE is sufficient.
    Thanks for writing for the site,
    (CA)


    Thanks, Lynne. It is really tempting to keep on spending more than we budget on Christmas gifts rather than sticking to our budgets. You have given some really good suggestions.
    The response I received to heartfelt words written on a Christmas card one year validate it.
    Merry Christmas.


    Thank you Lynne: I like your devotional very much, so timely and I run into that problem many times, wanting to give more than I can afford to, so today I have been baking up a storm of cookies, so I can make up a few little care packages. Many will be glad to get the reminder that we sometimes get carried away.
    Merry Christmas,
    (B.C.)


    Lynne: What a great message! We are following the “Advent Conspiracy” series of messages and Bible studies which drive home this very message.
    We’re turning our Christmas spending around to support various projects supported by PWS & D and other related causes overseas.
    So, we hope you have a blessed Christmas and thank you for publishing your thoughts online!
    Blessings are all around us!


    Dear Lynne,
    I always love the broad smile I have when ever I conclude and know that its you writing.
    Good piece there. We worry ourselves in trying to give befitting gifts to individuals in our lives. What matters most is our thoughts and our kind gesture.
    I should be revising my list too.
    Well on your key verse, wont you say that that is against pledging (stating to give an amount at a rather latter date) especially during the annual harvest or towards God’s work.


    Hi Lynne:
    Thank you for your great devotional today.
    I have been struggling with a gift for one of my granddaughters. She’s in college and told me she really didn’t need anything. I know she can always use money so I had decided to do that. How do I wrap that up – in a card? Not too exciting.
    When I read your write-up, I thought “She loves my homemade rolls.” I could do that and some Christmas cookies.
    Now this gift is getting exciting!
    Thanks for your suggestions.
    It’s not about how much we give.
    This gift would be from my heart.
    God Bless.


    Thank you Lynne. Our experiences are similar. Thank you for sharing.


    Thank you Lynne, my list is short by choice and inexpensive. I have been blessed with many talents, knitting, crocheting. I have made items for the women’s and children’s center. Family and friends each receive a small bag of handmade items that they can keep or give as gifts themselves.
    Many years ago we decided cash would be all that we used for gift giving, nothing went into credit cards for us that was the greatest gift we could give one another. Blessings as you work through this at this time.

 



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