Black Friday is now history and Cyber Monday is today. The official Christmas shopping season has begun once again. It is that time of year when, “What do you want for Christmas?” is heard all over the place. That question forces me to come up with things I want. Even if I have been content with what I have, I quickly find things I want. It isn’t even about need either, it’s about want; I never really need anything.
According to the rest of the world, I am rich. I have more stuff and income than most of the rest of the world. I am not the richest by any means, but I have plenty. However, money and material possessions are not the only wealth I hold. I am, we are as Christians, extravagantly rich in spiritual blessings. I wrote about it in my last blog.
God showed me a link between focusing on my spiritual wealth and giving generously through Paul’s words to the Corinthians. “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.” (2 Corinthians 8:9 ESV) Obviously, Paul isn’t talking about material wealth here, but spiritual. However, he reminded them of their riches in Christ, and urged them to give to others generously.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:3 ESV) Jesus started his famous Sermon on the Mount with that proclamation. If I recognize that I am spiritually poor, he will grant me the kingdom of heaven and I will become spiritually rich. If I don’t understand that I am spiritually bankrupt, then I will not see a need for Christ in my life. I will stay spiritually empty, seeking to be rich through what this world has to offer, money and stuff. If I understand I am spiritually rich, then I am prompted to give generously to others because I understand I am complete. I don’t need stuff to make me valuable.
I must admit that over the last several years, my church has really helped me change my focus at Christmas. I have come to realize just how much we spend at Christmas on our wants when there are those around the world who have dire needs. Both my husband and I have cut back spending so much on each other in order to give to others. But it has felt like a sacrifice.
This Christmas I’m asking Jesus to help me meditate on my spiritual wealth, so that giving to others doesn’t feel like a sacrifice, but a privilege. I want to be bursting with generosity and joy because I get how wealthy I truly am both materially and spiritually. Things will never make me more valuable or truly satisfy me. God has already blessed me with unfathomable value and blessings. Now what am I going to do in response?
Join me in remembering our great wealth and ask Jesus how he wants you to give to those in need this Christmas.