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The Gift of Giving

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With only two weeks before Christmas, there was one lady ‎in the hospital recovering from an illness. She had a large, ‎loving family who visited her regularly and attended to her ‎needs. When she came back from surgery, she awoke to a ‎room full of several cards and bouquets of flowers. She also ‎realized that she had another patient staying with her. This ‎lady was going to have surgery the next day on her foot. ‎ So the two women shared their live stories with each ‎another the entire day. But when the second woman went to ‎have surgery and returned, she only received once small ‎wreath. She put this on the bare wall in front of her. ‎

The first woman kept thinking of getting a bouquet for the ‎other, but the flower shop was always closed. She looked ‎around her flowers and tried to find one of the bouquets to ‎give to her, but each one she remembered one of her friends, ‎and how upset they knew she had given her flowers to ‎another woman. But before she could get something for this ‎woman, it was her time to leave. On her way out, she took ‎this one wreath – her only gift and gave it to the first lady and ‎said, “Merry Christmas. You’re a nice lady.” The first lady ‎began to cry when she realized, that out of all her gifts and ‎flowers, she could not give one small one to her friend; but ‎this woman gave the only gift she had ever received. ‎

Importance of Giving

Alms-giving is a work of the Holy Spirit, an indication ‎that we have attained brotherly love. ‎One modern saint known for his charitable acts was St. ‎Abraam (1829 – 1914), the Bishop of Fayoum. He took the verse ‎in Matthew literally and gave everything. He used to leave ‎his cell open for anyone in need, and say “Go in take what ‎you want.” He was known to give to all who asked him–‎everything from food, to furniture, or simple cash. Not only ‎did he feed the poor, but ate with them. He lived very meekly ‎even as a bishop, eating dried beans and bread. He opened ‎the monastery to them and made a shelter for them. He gave ‎his own clothes to them. When he departed, they found only ‎his wooden cross and his staff as his own–for he had given ‎away everything else before he died.‎ ‎ But we do not give for the sake of giving. We give, out ‎of the Love God has given us. The Lord asked us to give ‎Him our entire heart. He asked us to give our money to ‎those who are in need, for by doing so we give to Him. As ‎He told us: “For I was hungry and you gave Me food; I ‎was thirsty and you gave me drink; I was a stranger and ‎you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me, I was ‎sick and you visited me; I was in prison and you came to ‎Me.” (Matthew 25:35, 36) ‎

There were many people who when they gave to ‎others, they saw Christ. ‎ ‎ Be careful of any fear or hesitation of giving to God in ‎this way. For this may be the work of the Devil, who desires ‎for us to worship our money instead of God. He wants us to ‎be concerned over the amount of money we feel we are ‎losing. He hopes that we forget to pay our tithes. He devises ‎ways of tricking us into wasting our money on other things ‎instead of giving the Lord what He asked from us. ‎

How should I give?‎

‎Do not think that just because you are young, you cannot ‎give. God asked for our hearts, no matter how old we are. ‎

Give lovingly – let the amount that you give be an indication ‎of the amount of love you have for God. Perfection is voluntarily to sacrifice all and to follow Christ ‎for the sake of the kingdom. For every person perfection is ‎giving up whatever is loved more than God.‎ It doesn’t matter what we give, but what is left. The ‎widow who gave two mites did not have much, but she was ‎rewarded in front of everybody for giving all that she had, ‎her entire livelihood. She had faith that God would supply ‎for her. When we give to the Lord, He will bless what we ‎have left. One man once said, “When you give of yourself, ‎you receive more than you give.”‎

Give generously. St. Paul also explained that “He who ‎sows sparingly will also reap sparingly. He who sows ‎bountifully will reap bountifully. (1 Corinthians 9:6). ‎What we give, we will reap. For each morsel I give to the ‎poor; a plate will be set before me at the Wedding Feast. ‎For every donation I give to the church, the larger my ‎habitation will be in Paradise. For every piece of clothing I ‎give to the naked, I will be given a finely woven robe to ‎wear. If we give with generosity we will receive generously. ‎Every single opportunity we give to others, we will receive ‎much more in heaven. ‎

Give wisely – What are we living for? Until we answer this, ‎we cannot determine how we should spend our money. ‎

Give gladly – How are you giving? What are our hearts ‎saying? God outgives. As St. Paul said, God loves the ‎cheerful giver, not the grumpy one. ‎

Give humbly – the amount that we give can not compare to ‎what he has given us therefore we must give in humility. Our Lord warned us: “Don’t let your right hand know ‎what your left hand is doing.” (Matthew 6:3-4) Bishop ‎Sarabamon during the 19th century used to disguise himself ‎at night and carry a large basket full of needs for the poor. ‎He would knock on the homes of the poor, leave the food, ‎and walk away without saying a word.

 

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