At church this morning, the theme during the children’s part of the service is that it is better to give than to receive. The pastor’s puppet, Jake, had a long list of Christmas wants, and the pastor was trying to teach Jake to give gifts, not just receive them. Jake told the pastor to close his eyes and Jake would tell the pastor what his gift would be. “What do you see?,” Jake asked. “Nothing,” the pastor replied. “And that’s exactly what I’m giving you for Christmas!”
This whole theme was pretty ironic because that Bible verse was on my mind a couple of days ago. We were at the Goodwill, and I was looking at the books and movies. I usually try to set a limit on how much I will spend, but, overall, I base my determination of what I will buy on what I want—-what I may enjoy reading or watching, or what may be useful to me, either now or down the road. But I saw a couple of Gene Autry DVDs—-each DVD had four movies—-and I remembered that my pastor was a Gene Autry fan. I decided to get those for him, even though those movies would bring personal enjoyment to him and not to me. I think I made the right decision. I wonder how I would have responded to the theme of the children’s part of the service had I made the opposite decision!
Focusing on giving rather than receiving is a challenge for me, but it is necessary. What will motivate me to say “hi” to people, even though I am afraid that they will not return my greeting, or even when they have not in the past? The answer is: the rule that it is better to give than to receive.