Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Don't be a grinch

This is a little piece of a devotional that Denise from Shortybears sent me
this morning.
I thought it was great and it touched my heart.

The true story is told of a self-made millionaire who had lived in New York City his entire life. Born and raised in a ghetto, he worked hard and achieved much. Anyone who knew this man would testify to the fact that he was generous - to a fault, some would say. One year, the man was disturbed by an attitude of selfishness and greed that seemed to pervade the Christmas holiday season and everyone around him. Not one to condemn, the millionaire decided that since he had been given so much, it was up to him to do his part in combating greed and came up with an unusual plan. Wearing a disguise, this man stuffed his pockets with $100 dollar bills and set out for a walk on the streets of New York City . When he saw someone in need, he whipped out one of the bills, pressed it into that person's hands and with a "Merry Christmas", made his way down the street. "It was the most wonderful part of my holiday season," the man reported, and he has been doing it every since.

God is much more interested in our motive for giving than in the gift itself. If that motive is tainted with greed, the gift simply does not count. A powerful way to guard against greed is to choose joy over greed. Giving with joy is Kingdom giving! Before you give, ask yourself, “What’s in it for me?” If the answer is “nothing”, then go ahead and give the gift.

When our children were in middle school, we owned what I affectionately called a “Mini-Gym”. It was a set of bar bells, a weight lifting bench and a few free weights. Both Jered and Danna loved their “gym” and used it almost every day. When Christmas rolled around, we learned that two of their good friends, Jeff and Jeremy, were not going to have much of a Christmas because their dad had lost his job. Jered came up with a plan. “Mom,” he said, “Danna and I have talked about it. We think that Jeff and Jeremy would love to have the gym. But we don’t want them to know we gave it to them, because they might be embarrassed. What do you think?” I thought I was in the presence of two joyful givers and quickly joined them in their plan.

A few days before Christmas, Jered and I took the gym apart and loaded it in our car while Danna found a huge red bow. Together, we made a sign that read, “Merry Christmas! We love you!” Danna blew up balloons while Jered dug out some Christmas lights. We enlisted the help of a neighbor who had a key to our friend’s house and joined in the fun by agreeing to find out when the coast was clear, unlocking the back door and letting us in. At the designated time, off we went, laughing and singing Christmas carols. We parked down the street until the neighbor called, giggling, to let us know she was all set. Once we were inside, we raced to assemble the gym, post the sign, tie the balloons and tape the lights to the front door, leading our friends to their Christmas surprise on the back porch. We then high-tailed it home as if the FBI was hot on our trail! The neighbor reported that just minutes after the boys returned, she heard shouting and “whooping and hollering”. The joy of that Christmas still lingers today. Greed doesn’t hold a candle to joyful giving!

So I guess we could say that giving keeps us from getting all stopped up with greed. Stopped up people are miserable people. Miserable? Give.


Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed reading this. Thank you.

Mary said...


A wonderful post. Thanks so much for sharing it.

More people in the world need to do things such as this. Selfishness should never be something that we practice. Selflessness is so much more fun.

Thanks for reminding us to give from our hearts. Such a wonderful message to find this morning.

Love and blessings,

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful story. I love to give and especially with expecting nothing in return. I'm not perfect in that area because sometimes I still like to hear a thank you but that's mostly from my dd.

Did they ever find out it was y'all? I don't know about you but its in moments that those that I feel like I'm experiencing the heart of God and it helps me get better aquainted with Him. Don't you?

Debrand said...

Excellent post. Loved it. I love being secret about giving. It's much more precious.

Kellan said...

What a great story - it is better to give than to receive! Take care. Kellan

Connie@Little Red Hearts From God said...

you know... you are so right... I wasn't going to share this but I figure no one will see this that I know..

Today, one of my patients doesn't have anything... not even a little Christmas tree...so today when I made my visit, I brought a little Christmas tree with the trimings. And I put up the tree but had her help me decorate it. Even though she is really weak, I let her help. and at the end, I pulled on the candy canes and she and I laughed and decorated the tree with them and ate some of the candies. We talked about Jesus, knowing in unspoken words, this would be her last Christmas on earth.
Before I left, I gave her a present to put under the tree, I told her she could not peek. Her face lit up and she gave me the biggest hug. we both cried.

To me, this is what Christmas is about. I don't need gifts. I'm happy doing this.

God has given me so many gifts. Each day with my daddy and even if he doesn't live to Christmas, I've been blessed. This has been the best Christmas ever.

God is so good.

Your story that you have shared is so true. Why can't everyone see it? Why?


Denise said...

I love you sis, you are a sweet gift,

SunnySusan said...

Sweet story....I agree you are a gift to me

Love ya sis

Denise said...

I had a Sunday school teacher in the 80's and one Sunday morning she had the word Motive written on the chalk board... In everything you do she said, check your motive... because that is where God lives....... I have never forgot that Sunday morning... giving is such a great gift that we give ourselves...... thanks for the great post........

Regina said...

You always have the most inspirational posts!!
I have something for you at my blog.

Anonymous said...

*Warm fuzzies*

Melanie said...

This reminds me of a song that is sung by the Gaither Vocal Band (not sure if you listen to them). It's called "Give It Away." One line in the song says, "If you want more happy than your heart can hold.... just give it away."