How to Consume Less and Give More This Christmas
Written by Christi Given | December 10, 2016
PI Girls, I want to talk about the subject of giving because it is prevalent in the Bible. The entire Gospel (aka the “good news”) is about how God GAVE His Son Jesus to come on to the earth to live and then die as the sacrificial lamb on the cross for all people for their sins. He did this so we could have everlasting life (John 3).
God is so merciful and loving. God is patient and gracious and loves to bless us with wonderful things in life, and He wants us to bless others, too. Jesus taught that He came to serve, not to be served (Matthew 20:28), and we, too, are to minister, give and reflect Christ.
My question for you is: In general, at church, at home or with friends, are you a consumer or a giver? Our culture is so filled with the latest and greatest improvements in technology and is also about the quick and the easy way. Do you think about sowing and giving to others?
Galatians 6 tells us that a man reaps what he sows or plants. Just like if you plant a watermelon seed, you will get a watermelon. If you plant carrots in a garden, you will grow carrots. Seems simple, but sometimes people don’t realize if you don’t plant or give, you will be empty. Same goes for what you give out will be what you reap in harvest season.
Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. (Galatians 6:7-8)
If you’re ever feeling down, don’t look at your own needs, but the needs of others. Focusing on others actually ends up being a blessing to you, why? Because God created us to give. We were meant to worship. Worship isn’t just music—no, PI Girls, worship is how we live out our lives.
A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed. (Proverbs 11:25)
Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. (Philippians 2:4)
How do we treat our neighbors, friends and family? Do we seek to give and honor and bless others before ourselves? Humbling, I know. We need a constant reminder! We are in such a selfish society and it opposes what Jesus tells us in the Bible. We are to bless those who persecute us and turn the other cheek when people are cruel. Crazy, I know, because our flesh wants to war with our Spirit, but it is true. When we realize we live in a broken world and everyone has an area of hurt somewhere, we realize love never fails and it prompts us to bless instead of curse, give instead of take and love instead of hate. Amen?
The Bible says in Acts 20:35 that it is better to give than to receive, and if we give back to God, He will open the windows of heaven (Malachi 3) and pour back the blessing—we don’t give to receive, but you cannot out-give God!
“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.” (Malachi 3:10)
Girls, I challenge you to write down a list of 10 people who you can bless this month. Also, write down a list of ideas on how you can bless their lives.
Here are some ideas on how to bless others, not just during the holiday season, but all year-round.
1. Serve in your local church: There’s always a need and guess who can fill it? You and me. God uses us as His hands and feet, and it’s a great thing to give back to your church that pours out several days a week to the public. Maybe consider pouring back into the younger kids and next generation; you could be their leader or role model—yes, YOU!
2. Volunteer at a local soup kitchen (with your parent’s permission, of course): This is not only humbling to realize how blessed you are just to have food on the table, but you can meet some very nice people and have an amazing experience. Serving produces greatness.
3. Have a bake sale and donate the money to charity: I help support Generosity Water, Saving Innocence, World Vision, Red Eye Inc. and Unlikely Heroes if you need some ideas on where to donate. These are all great organizations and nonprofits that help people all over the world.
4. Make a surprise gift: Do you knit, sew, make hand-crafted items or draw? Even a nice letter with a picture is a thoughtful way to bless someone. (No frame or money? Then the picture is fine…it’s worth 1,000 words, right?)
5. Buy a small gift card: A gift card to Jamba Juice or Starbucks is always a blessing for people, especially at this time of year, and can always cheer someone up! Even $5 can get someone a drink or two. Cheers!
6. Invite someone to church or the Christmas production: If your church is doing a local play (usually these are events such as Christmas Eve; some even do candlelight services) and it is a free event with live music and worship, invite someone. This is a sure way to bless someone, especially if they are lonely at this time of year.
7. Invite your friends for a movie night: Popcorn, movies and girl talk…I’m in! Invite some friends (with your parent’s or guardian’s permission) over to your house and watch a special holiday film or a good, positive film.
8. Christmas caroling or karaoke: If you decide to use this list throughout the year, I wanted to include an idea outside of caroling, like karaoke. If you can’t go out somewhere to sing, you can set up your microphones at home and do a concert with your friends—it’s free and fun! It will make a special memory, especially for those you love who need it! Laughter is the best medicine and cheers up the spirit!
9. See the lights in your neighborhood: Do you have a special area in your town that has a lot of Christmas lights? Ask a parent to do a carpool night of Christmas lights sightseeing and get some hot cocoa to bring along with you.
10. Bake: This time of the year is an especially fun and popular time to bake. Make some cookies for the neighbors and anyone who may be needing some Christmas cheer or just a smile. You’ll be surprised at how the little things can be big blessings to people.
PI Girls, do you have any ideas on what to do for people or how to bless others? Comment below! I love you, girls, and I am praying for you! If you have any questions or additional prayer requests, message me at facebook.com/ChristiGiven. God bless you!