Good and Perfect Gifts

“The giver of every good and perfect gift has called upon us to mimic
His giving, by grace, through faith, and this is not of ourselves.”

Greek bishop and Saint, Nicholas of Myra, was born on this day in 270. (died 343).

Nicholas’ heart for giving and charity is the basis for the modern day version of Santa Claus due to his legendary habit of secret gift-giving.

I try to give what I can.

Truth is, these days it’s easier for me to give more of my time than it is cash.

Mug Shots
(click the pic)

Don’t get me wrong, we have everything we need. There’s just not a lot of walkin’ around money.

Fortunately, I’m not in the market to buy a politician.

I do give a lot of my time. Currently, a lot of that is going to the theater community, or the Interwebz.

Perhaps I could use some redirection. I was reminded last week on Facebook that in 2010, I was in New Orleans helping to build a fence for a daycare center. It was the second of my post-Katrina reconstruction trips.

I have pondered how I can give like that again. No, I’m not really looking for suggestions. I just need to spend some time with that thought.

We do try to give monetarily when we can.

We are not, however, generous to a fault.

I’ve told my wife that I’m all for giving away all of the excess clutter in our house…the attic…the garage…the son’s bedroom?

Too far?

While that may be less out of a spirit of generosity than it is a desire to get rid of crap we don’t use or need, there’s a recognition that perhaps someone, somewhere could use the stuff.

I’m not inclined to get all preachy about how Americans have too much money and stuff. There are people in this country who are really struggling. Still, on the world scale…well…

I have a tendency to think I’d be much more generous if I won the Lottery or Publisher’s Clearinghouse.

“Really, Lord, I’ll give a lot of it away.”

I don’t think it works like that.

And, having more isn’t always the solution to being generous or being happy.

I don’t know if Janis ever got her Mercedes. If she did, it didn’t seem to make her happy.

Too harsh? Maybe But the money and the stuff isn’t going to make us happy.

What’s that country song? Money can’t buy happiness, but it’ll buy me a boat.

I don’t want a boat.

And, we don’t need money to be generous.

That story is clear in Scripture when Jesus talks about the woman who gave all she had.

My in-laws didn’t have a lot of money. Both had to retire early due to medical reasons. But they gave of their time and talents. My mother-in-law was an incredible cook and baker. She would frequently have an extra loaf of bread to bless someone at church, or a neighbor.

We all have different resources. Some are more able to give financially, and those who can, should. Some can give of time, or talents.

Giving is as much, or more, for our own benefit as it is for the recipient.

More blessed and all that…

There’s a part of me that wants to scream that I’m doing all that I can, that I have nothing left to give. I don’t think that’s true for any of us.

I think we can all give more.

And, if you’ll spare me a moment of personal privilege, I do not mean to that we need to give more to the government for the purpose and redistribution. That never works efficiently. Never.

That’s first hand knowledge from someone who worked as a social worker in one of the poorest counties in the state, and who worked in social service policy at both the state and federal level.

Jesus told us to be generous. But he never told us to channel that generosity through the government. While we’re on it, he never told us to rely on the government for anything.

Any. Thing.

There’s a whole ‘nother post, or sermon, or rant that could be brewing in there, but just let that sink in.

We all give in different ways. But we all should consider how to be giving.

Nicholas understood that.

I’m trying to.

In other news, American singer-songwriter, musician, and producer, Sly Stone, was born on this day in 1943.

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