I’ve been shopping for the perfect gift for my dad. While I was shopping I began to think about all of the things my dad has given me over the years, flowers on my birthday, jewelry for Christmas, and a Bible with a handwritten note inside during a difficult time in my life. That Bible soon became one of my most prized possessions. Not because of the monetary value of the item but because of the sentimental value of that note from my dad. Sometimes when I’m feeling down, I read it and remember how much I’m loved.
Aside from giving me tangible objects, my dad has given me his time. Over the years he has always been there for me, taking care of me when I’m sick, listening to me when I’m upset and encouraging me to reach for my dreams.
But the most important gift I have ever received from my dad is actually a lesson in giving and what it means to give in a way that is pleasing to God. My dad’s spiritual gift is giving and I’ve been fortunate enough to witness his giving and to learn from it. Here are a few of the lessons I’ve learned from watching him over the years.
#1 Be a cheerful giver.
So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.
2 Corinthians 9:7
Pleasing God is more about your attitude than your action. What is in your heart? Are you giving only because you feel that you have to or are you giving because you truly want to give? Giving is not my spiritual gift and my natural inclination is to save money instead of giving it away. But that doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t give, and it doesn’t mean that I can give with a bad attitude and still please God. For me, being a cheerful giver is something that I have had to learn to do and it has taken practice. But over the years my attitude about giving has changed. I have seen the way that my dad gives and the blessings that God has given in return. My dad has taught me how to be a cheerful giver and to always have gratitude for what God has blessed me with.
#2 Give without boasting.
Take head that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly.
My dad is the kind of guy that leads by example. He doesn’t talk about it, he just does it. And that is how Jesus instructed us to be in our giving. Not giving openly seeking attention or praise from other people. But giving quietly and secretly, seeking only the approval of God. What we have to give came from God and if we give looking for our own glory then we are taking the glory away from God that is rightfully His. Our approval should be from Him. He sees what we do privately and He will reward us for it. The acknowledgment we receive from other people will only last for a short time but the acknowledgment from God lasts forever.
#3 Give of yourself.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
Giving is about more than money. It’s about giving your time, your skills, friendship, compassion, etc. We all have something to give. We just have to be willing to do it. If God could give His Son and if Jesus could die in my place, what can I give in return?
#4 Be a blessing.
It is more blessed to give than to receive.
I once heard a pastor say “Blessed people, bless people.” This is so true, because the more we have, the more we can give. This is what Jesus has called us to do, to be a blessing to those around us. So, I have strived over the years to learn how to give and how to be a blessing to the people in my life.
My dad has taught me so many life lessons and I’m grateful for all of them. But the lesson I will carry closest to my heart is the gift of giving.