Jesus said, “There is more happiness in giving than in receiving” (Acts 20:35 GNT).
When I was a child, that didn’t make sense to me. It was way more fun to get things than to give stuff away. In my immature thinking, Christmas was all about me. What was I going to get?
But hopefully I’ve matured. Christmas is now a celebration of the birth of Christ, and the presents are not about me. In fact, I don’t care if I get anything. As a father and grandfather, Christmas includes giving to my children and grandchildren and joyfully watching them open their gifts. That makes me happy.
The smile I have on my face from getting a pair of socks from one of my daughters isn’t about the socks. It’s about her and the expression of love that she is making.
Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy receiving some nice stuff once in a while. But if I only enjoy getting, I haven’t grown up yet, and I’m living a fairly self-absorbed life.
Jesus also said, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21). In other words, we invest in what we really care about, and we care about whatever we invest in. You probably don’t pay attention to the future of Xerox unless you own stock in Xerox.
When you invest in a ministry that advances the kingdom of God, you start caring about the things of God even more. Giving to whom or what we care about is mature and wise. We will find real happiness when we give with others in mind rather than our own interests.
Steven Macaluso, an ordained elder, is a regional vice president of the Free Methodist Foundation. He lives in Holley, New York, and attends the Brockport Free Methodist Church.