A Christmas Challenge – Give Like God Gave
Written December 3, 2012
It is odd sometimes how God works and even how He provides things for ministers to write in their church newsletters but the things that God does are truly amazing. This past Thursday I had the opportunity to have lunch with Father Thomas from Holy Family Catholic Church right down the road from Mars Hill. This was a meeting that was long in the making as we were wanting to get together for some time being neighbors and wanting to get to know each other better and this past Thursday we finally were able to meet.
As we were meeting for lunch we went to one of the finest restaurants we could, the Saratoga Grill on South Churton Street. As usual the service was great, the food was magnificent and the fellowship was great as we were able to get to know each other better and have some time of fellowship.
The event that made our meeting together so special was what happened toward the end of the meal. After we had finished our food the waitress came and asked if we wanted any coffee or dessert, which both were tempting but we decline. Father Thomas then proceeded to tell the waitress to bring him the check as it was his treat and he was the senior clergymen at the table (I found out he entered the priesthood the year after I was born so I couldn’t argue too much with him). The waitress smiled and left the table and in just a minute or two came back and informed us that the meal today was on the house.
At this point something very rare occurred as two men who talk for a living were speechless. It seems that someone at the restaurant, that knew who we were, decided to bless us with our meal that day. Now, we’re pretty sure we know who it was, and it was very frustrating not being able to find that person afterward and express our gratitude directly but be assured we will be back and on the lookout to offer our profound thanks.
Having that happen though, was a very amazing experience. To have someone, out of the blue, provide such a nice gift made me feel quite special and tremendously blessed. I know I am not anybody special or famous, I have no claim to fame or wield tremendous powers of influence but that gift made me feel like I was Nobel prize winner. All because someone in the goodness of their heart decided to anonymously bless a Catholic priest and a Southern Baptist minister with a delicious lunch.
As I look out at Christmas I cannot help but think that what happened to me and Father Thomas is what God did for all the world just on an infinitely grander scale. We were no one special living here in our world but God in His infinite love gave us the Bread of Life that if we would come to Him in faith the hunger of our souls would be satisfied for all eternity.
Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life;
whoever comes to me shall not hunger,
and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.
(John 6:35 ESV)
This also leads to the conclusion if I can be joy filled over being given lunch should I not be overwhelmed with thankfulness and humbled to the uttermost that God gave His Son freely to me as a sacrifice for my sins and took my punishment and place on the cross? If my whole countenance and spirit was lifted in the loving gift of another should not my every breath, thought, and action be in thankfulness and praise to the God who provided me we security for all eternity?
This is real love—not that we loved God,
but that he loved us and sent his Son
as a sacrifice to take away our sins.
1 John 4:10 (NIV)
“For God so loved the world,
that he gave his only Son,
that whoever believes in him should
not perish but have eternal life.
(John 3:16 ESV)
You know the revelations that you are reading right now came because of what happened to me at the Saratoga on Thursday. If anything this speaks to the power of a gift. What would happen if each of us this holiday season provided a gift to another in such a manner? If God could use the gift of a meal to humble me in thinking about the immense gift of Christ and lead me to write this short article, think of what God could do through your gift of kindness and love.
My challenge for you this Christmas is to seek the Lord’s direction in how He would have you to give to another. I’ll leave how you give and what you give between you and God. I do think it best that you do what you do with intent and do it so the person knows that they have been specifically chosen to receive this Christmas blessing.
You options are nearly endless in doing this. You could anonymously send someone a gift card that you know is in need and simply include an unsigned card that says you love them and hope they have a blessed Christmas. You could pick someone at random in a restaurant and tell the waitress to send them their ticket when they get done. If someone finds out it was you just tell them about what happened to me and who knows, it might be you get to share the gospel message to someone who needs to hear it.
May you be blessed this year as you give to others!