It’s All about Giving
Associate Pastor of Administration and Operations
Columbus Avenue Baptist Church
This past December our office staff gathered together for our annual
Christmas party just as we always do each year. However, we chose to
celebrate differently and add a new touch. We celebrate Christmas as
the birth of our savior Jesus. We celebrate God’s gift of giving to
us. I am sure that’s where the gift giving came from, however, we have
messed that all up with thoughtless gifts and spending more than our
means financially. The true act of giving sacrificially has been lost
over the years, watering down the actual celebration. So our staff
party took on a new form! We asked each person to bring five dollars
to the party. We still did the dinner and games and fun, but the real
focus was on giving. We did not charge for the event nor not rent a
large room nor spend a lot on food. We chose to not spend much on
ourselves this year. With the money each person brought, I surprised
them with giving. As a staff, we chose to sponsor a child through
Compassion International for one year. We collected the money and then
a few weeks later we confirmed the sponsorship to a ten year old boy
in Uganda. I purposely looked for a child that had been waiting the
longest and our child Nye, had been waiting for almost a year for a
sponsor. The staff received all the details about our child and now we
write him letters and hear about his life. What a huge blessing this
has been already. God first gave so we could give!
Now we are entering into another time of giving as we look toward Holy
Week or Passion Week as some refer to it. It can be a time just like
the other holidays, missing the point, if we are not careful. Holy
Week is full of events that remind us to celebrate Jesus giving. God
gave us his son, now the son is giving himself! Growing up as a kid I
only remember Easter and the family gatherings and seeing some
relatives maybe. The focus was on hunting eggs and getting candy.
There is nothing wrong with that but we missed the giving focus. We
got instead of gave!
Holy Week starts with the Sunday before Easter Sunday marking the
triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. The book of Luke chapter 19.
28-44 tells about the event that depicts the picture of Jesus riding
into town with people laying psalm branches down in his path as a sign
of royalty and respect. It was glorious time for God’s people. A
Maundy Thursday service is the next event in Holy Week that depicts
the time when Jesus was with the disciples at the last supper. The
book of Luke 22.7-38 tell us the story. Jesus knew it was his last
meal together and he had a lot to say in continuing to teach the
disciples of the upcoming events. Even though they did not fully
understand Jesus’s teachings, Jesus pressed forward. The next day is
what we refer to as Good Friday, the day Jesus was crucified and died
for our sins. The book of Luke 23.26-55 tell us the story of His
crucifixion and death on a cross. Why would we call this day “good”
Friday? Some say that it transitioned from God’s Friday to Good
Friday. Even though it was a dark day of death and pain, it reflected
what God was doing for us. Remember Holy Week is all about Jesus
giving. Jesus was giving his life so that we may have life. Through
his death and resurrection, we have abundant life. So there was
something “good” about that Friday, thus Good Friday as we know it
today. The last event of Holy Week is Sunday morning, Easter Sunday as
we know it today. The book of Luke 24.1-12 tells us the story. As was
custom, the woman would bring spices to prepare Jesus for burial. They
were shocked to see that Jesus’s body was not there and were instead
confronted by two angels saying the Son of Man is not here, he has
risen. Whether you are a believer or not, those are the events of
Jesus giving. You can choose to believe or not, and many have chosen
to not believe.
When I was a kid growing up I remember the words “prove it!” being
said a lot. You know how kids try to exaggerate the truth and brag to
make themselves tough. You say something hard to believe and someone
says “prove it! Well I am sure that was being said as the women went
back to town saying that Jesus had risen, he is not there. That surely
sounded ridiculous and hard to believe. I bet you there were some
saying to the women, “prove it!” Well, Jesus had already taken care of
that as in the next several days, even weeks, he appeared many times.
In fact, the Bible records eleven times that Jesus appeared and proved
he had risen. Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene, the two travelers on
the road to Emmaus, to Peter in Jerusalem, the ten disciples in the
upper room, the eleven disciples a week later, to seven of the
disciples while fishing, to more than 500 at once, to James, and to
many at his ascension on the Mt of Olives.
Jesus was giving them many convening proofs that he was not in the
grave. Jesus was giving them hope that what he had taught was true.
Jesus was giving them peace that he was who he said he was. Jesus was
giving them his life on a cross so that they could have life. All in
all Jesus was giving all that for anyone that believes in him, even
today. The whole story and events of Holy Week are about giving.
Romans 5.8 says, “But God demonstrated his own love for us in this:
While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
As I was sharing at our staff Christmas party about giving to a child
in Uganda, I shared that it started with God giving his only son, then
Jesus giving his life, so that we can give him ours. It’s all about
giving! Have you given your life to Christ? Have you accepted his free
gift of life by trusting in Him? Are you convinced he has risen?
Wherever you are reading this article, you can quietly close your eyes
and give yourself to Jesus. Lord, I admit I am a sinner and need your
forgiveness. Lord, I believe Jesus died on the cross for my sins, and
was buried, then raised again and is alive in Heaven at your side.
Lord, I commit my life to you and trust you as my Lord and Savior.
It’s all about giving my friend; all about giving!