“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.”
You’ve all heard John 3:16 before—probably so many times that you can quote it in your sleep (in multiple translations). Although some may consider John 3:16 an “overused” verse, the words are truly powerful and a good reminder of what God did/does/will do for us. God loved us so much that He gave Jesus as a sacrifice in our place. God allowed His child to die instead of us so that we didn’t have to suffer the burden of the cross; instead, we can enjoy eternal life with God in heaven.
Let me run that by you again: God gave up His only child so that we could spend eternity in perfection with Him. There is no greater sacrifice, no greater gift in all the universe than what God gave to us through Jesus.
What would Christmas look like if we attempted to give even a fraction of the way God gave?
It’s “Give More” week of Advent Conspiracy, and we know that the thought of giving more can be intimidating, frustrating, and scary. You might be thinking, “I don’t have extra money to give,” “I’m barely getting by,” or “but I already gave money this year.” We have all been there. But we want to clarify: “Give More” is not just about monetary giving. Yes, money is helpful and it can accomplish a lot of things, but in the end money is just a thing. God asks us to give relationally.
Our friends from the Advent Conspiracy website wrote an excellent post about a Christmas wishlist from Jesus Himself in Matthew 25:31-46. Jesus identified six ways that Christians can give in His name:
- Food for the hungry
- A drink for the thirsty
- Hospitality for strangers
- Clothes for those without
- Care for the sick
- Company for the prisoner
These six ways of giving don’t require you to sign a check. When you give in one (or more) of these six ways, you are building relationships in addition to caring for a physical need. Sharing your food, home, and possessions with strangers is a reflection of the personal way God gave to us.
When a family opens their home to a child in foster care they are literally sharing everything they have with a complete stranger; foster families are responding to Jesus’ Christmas wishlist year-round!
When you donate Christmas gifts to kids in foster care, you are giving more in Jesus’ name.
We don’t want to discredit monetary gifts because they really do so much for our kids’ physical needs, but we also want to emphasize that you can give of yourself without signing a check. Maybe you can make a meal to share with a foster family. Maybe you can become a respite provider or a CASA worker. Or maybe you can just build a relationship with a foster family and spend time with them. God gave the gift of His son so that we could build a relationship with Him. When we respond to Jesus’ Christmas wishlist and give like God, we build relationships with other people in His name.
There is no way that we—imperfect humans—can give the way God did. But with His help we can try, and the results will be amazing!