Written By Luke Cameron
When I was in high school, my youth pastor told a story about a special Christmas in their family. One year his family took half of the money they had planned to spend on presents for the family and instead bought presents for a family who was struggling financially, one they knew likely wouldn’t be able to afford presents for their kids. He and his family bought and wrapped gifts and placed them on this family’s front porch. They rang the doorbell and breathlessly hid to watch the surprise unfold. They watched their looks of surprise, then joy and finally excitement at the discovery of these timely Christmas presents. This is a story that warmed my heart and a lesson I still value today. As you may have guessed, that pastor and his family experienced the unique and overflowing joy that comes from giving, rather than thinking about what they would receive.
At Grace Church, we have a similar opportunity to focus on others with our Give Joy ministry. And what better time to give than at Christmas. Christmas time – more than any other time in our culture – promotes the concept and benefits of giving, and the reminder that we are to give sacrificially. As Christians, we intentionally ground our giving in scripture by remembering the incredible gift God gave us when Jesus humbled Himself to become an infant born into a poor Jewish family. Jesus demonstrated sacrificial giving in the way He lived and even more by dying an innocent death to remove the consequences of our sin. Jesus gave without expectation of receiving thanks or gratitude. While we were yet sinners, He pursued us and made us whole in Him.
Through Give Joy ministry, every year, Grace Church members help to provide presents to children whose families would not otherwise be able to afford them. Through this small sacrifice, they open an opportunity for the sharing of the gospel and the revival of the next generation. With evil pervading our culture right now, the youth are perhaps the most vulnerable. It’s important to remember that Jesus says we are the light of world. That means if we hope for a change to the state of darkness in the world, we have to be willing to shine His love and truth to those in need all around us. I have had the privilege and pleasure of being on the delivery team for this ministry. As a team, we met in the community where the families lived and prayed for them. We learned more about the families themselves, and then split into groups to deliver the packages. The children were excited, knowing that someone was thinking about them, loving them and looking to bring a special kind of joy into their lives. Those that give and those that receive are both blessed by this experience. This is no surprise when we look at what God has said about giving in the Bible:
- 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.” Act 20:35
- You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.” 2 Corinthians 9:7
We’ve all enjoyed receiving gifts on Christmas, the anticipation and excitement of unwrapping and using your new treasures. The instructions God gave us in the Bible are simple: Love God and love people. Give Joy ministry is an excellent opportunity to love children by giving them a brighter Christmas than they would have had otherwise. As they feel loved and cared for, you remind them that someone higher loves and cares for them, too.
If you want to be a part of this amazing ministry, please click the link below to share what you can. And pray that God’s love is felt all across our city this Christmas.